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:

8/29/2016 US: New information source for tunnel berry growers
8/29/2016 US (KY): New IPM publication available for high tunnel & greenhouse vegetable crops
8/26/2016 How to grow microgreens
8/25/2016 Pros and cons of clay pebbles (hydroton) in hydroponics
8/23/2016 Pros and cons of perlite in hydroponics
8/22/2016 Surinamese army trained for greenhouse cultivation
8/18/2016 Beer from Scottish-grown hops coming soon?
8/17/2016 Effects of T5 fluorescent vs. LED (F3 Spectrum) vs. LED (X5 Spectrum)
8/17/2016 Canada: Moving wine production indoors?
8/15/2016 Evapotranspiration-based irrigation scheduling of head lettuce and broccoli
8/12/2016 Growth analysis of cucumber seedlings under red and far-red light
8/12/2016 Hops tested in protected open-sided greenhouse structure
8/11/2016 Understanding the causes of crumbly fruit in red raspberry
8/11/2016 US (NH): Winter spinach in high tunnels found to be tastier
8/10/2016 Taking LEDs to the next level
8/10/2016 US (NY): Ginger identified as high value-potential crop
8/9/2016 How sole-source LEDs impact growth of Brassica microgreens
8/9/2016 Israel: Trial aims to grow strawberries in summer
8/9/2016 Kenya: Soil-testing kit gives results in 30 minutes
8/8/2016 US: SARE grant expands UNH tomato research