Pickling cucumber growers will soon have a new defense against the devastating Downy mildew disease. During the Pickle Packers International annual meeting, Seminis® announced the launch of DM DefenseTM, a line of Downy mildew resistant pickling cucumber seed for the 2016 growing season.

“There’s a lot of grower excitement around DM DefenseTM hybrids, especially because the control options for Downy mildew for pickling cucumbers currently is restricted to the use of fungicides,” explained Seminis® cucurbit breeding lead Nischit Shetty. “When present, Downy mildew can cause extensive foliar damage on leaves of infected plants and there can be a substantial reduction in fruit yield depending on the stage at which plants are infected and the extent of damage.”

Pickling cucumber growers can expect intermediate levels of resistance* to Downy mildew from DM DefenseTM hybrids. This is a step above current industry offerings which are all susceptible to the disease.

Third party testing revealed that DM DefenseTM hybrids showed less susceptibility to Downy mildew infection, resulting in higher yield potential under untreated conditions as compared to the susceptible checks. In addition, DM DefenseTM pickles provide growers the potential for a more flexible spray schedule as a result of the Downy mildew resistance.

“While DM DefenseTM hybrids help provide yield protection when field or weather conditions do not allow timely fungicide applications, scouting and use of fungicide with multiple modes of action will be needed to achieve highest yield potential,” explained Shetty. “Young plants (<5 leaf stage) are vulnerable and need to be protected by fungicide if there is a high risk of infection in the area.”

Initially, Seminis® plans to launch two hybrids under the DM DefenseTM brand for the 2016 planting season with more products to follow. Products sold under the DM DefenseTM brand will possess the outstanding growing potential and quality growers have grown to expect from Seminis® products.

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