Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »

US: K-State receives $158k grant for research on tomato grafting

Cary Rivard, assistant professor of horticulture and a team of K-State researchers from K-State’s Plant Pathology and Biological Sciences departments have been awarded $158,434 to develop grower recommendations for tomato grafting, a process relatively new to U.S. vegetable production.

The three-year project, funded by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, will identify tomato rootstocks that can be used to increase profitability for growers in the Great Plains, develop grafting propagation methods and increase producer knowledge about those methods. The team will also investigate the role that rootstocks play in soil microbial ecology.
Tomato grafting fuses stem tissue from two plants, so that the two stems grow together, re-connecting internal plumbing systems within the plant. One plant is selected for its roots (rootstock) and the other for its stems, leaves, flowers or fruits (scion).

“Because grafting can bring desirable traits from two different cultivars – for example disease resistance from one and the preferred tastiness of another – together to form one plant, it has the potential to significantly increase crop yield and farm profit for tomato growers in the Great Plains,” said Rivard, who is a fruit and vegetable specialist with K-State Research and Extension, based in Olathe, Kan. “As part of this project, we’ll introduce growers to grafting technology as well as assisting in the development of an industry that will supply grafted plants.”

Traditionally, high-value crops like tomatoes have been grown in regions such as Florida and California and shipped long distances. That model, he said, is becoming less sustainable because consumers are increasingly looking for local and organic produce.

“In the case of tomato, high tunnel production has been quickly adopted in the Great Plains because they reduce risk from crop damage due to wind, cool spring weather, and storm damage,” Rivard said. “They also help to increase the season length and generally provide a more stable production environment.”

The researchers will study tomato rootstocks that will be grown in high tunnels, both in university and on-farm locations, including the Wichita and Olathe areas. The trials will include heirloom tomatoes known as Cherokee Purple, and hybrid (‘BHN 589’) scions. Both cultivars are already widely grown in Kansas and throughout the United States in more traditional growing situations.

As part of the project, the research team will pass along its findings to growers and others through K-State Research and Extension workshops, field demonstrations, publications, a website and videos.

More information about the research project is available by contacting Rivard at

Publication date: 9/10/2013





Other news in this sector:

4/23/2014 AU: "More and more growers identifying advantages of stonewool substrates"
4/23/2014 The New Cultivation in combination with plant welfare
4/23/2014 TOPPot plants benefit from diffuse glass
4/22/2014 US (MN): 'Snow has been a good thing for area gardeners'
4/22/2014 US (CO): 'Weed cultivation cost-effective, eco-friendly, and produce mass quantities of chronic'
4/22/2014 Malaysia: Treated effluents for roadside plants and nurseries
4/22/2014 New concept semi-closed greenhouse a successor to earlier generation
4/18/2014 Five quirky indoor agriculture projects
4/18/2014 Vegetables on Mars within ten years?
4/17/2014 China: Greenhouse vegetables in the Gobi Desert
4/17/2014 The future of growing melons and strawberries without soil
4/17/2014 Video: Clarifying diffuse glass and coatings
4/17/2014 Italy: Automation is key for floating hydroponics
4/16/2014 Kenya: Ex convict earns living from pomato; plant that yields both potatoes, tomatoes
4/16/2014 US: Researchers using aeroponics in bid to produce disease-free potato plants
4/14/2014 Plants evolve ways to control embryo growth and development
4/14/2014 Complete guide for growing hydroponically
4/14/2014 South Africa: Pupils grow vegetables through aquaponics, to address poverty and hunger
4/14/2014 US (WI): Appleton man invents aeroponic system to grow plants in air
4/11/2014 High tunnel planting scheduling: Working out a schedule for successive plantings