Mexico: Mid-tech pepper growers see good results with grafting

Besides many developments taking place in the high tech sector, the Mexican low and mid tech greenhouse industry is also on the move. This was shown during last week's Expo Agroalimentaria Guanajuato in Irapuato, where seed breeder Enza Zaden shared with us their latest results in the field of grafted peppers. 

Nazario Medina, Enza Zaden's Mexican product specialist for protected crops, was eager to tour us around their demonstration greenhouse where they had their latest varieties with low, mid, high tech and organic crops on display. According to Nazario, the low and medium tech growers are currently very interested in grafting techniques. 

"Growing in the soil means you have to deal with a lot of influences that you cannot fully control as when growing in a substrate. There are often high salinity levels, soil diseases, Fusarium, Phytophthora and nematodes. Therefore growers demand strong plants with a strong root system in order to give the plant enough power and performance."

Enza Zaden introduced rootstock grafting for low and mid tech pepper crops four years ago. "A strong crop starts with a strong root system to offer resistance to diseases and add more vigor to the crop. Next to this grafting also offers the opportunity to increase the yield of the crop."

Nazario explained that about 40 commercial hectares of blocky peppers in the region of Jalisco are currently successfully grown on grafted rootstocks. 'We gather a lot of data and experience, and we see that the crops are stronger and performing better and offer up to two or three kg yield increase."

Grafting peppers requires a chance in plant density. Instead of using the traditional V-system, a third stem is common. 

According to Nazario, this is the result of combining the best of both worlds. "Not every crop is suitable to graft and you need to select the right variety with the right rootstock. It is all about finding the perfect combination. We currently see good results with our rootstocks Yaocali and Scarface, in combination with the right crop."

As an example, Nazario showed us the yellow blocky pepper variety Eurix, grafted on Yaocali rootstock. "This has proven to be a very good combination. The rootstock provides a strong root system to the plant, and you see that it gives the overall quality of Eurix another boost as the rootstock simply highlights the performance and quality of the crop. If fruits are nice and large for example, they simply become even more nicer and larger."

For more information:
Enza Zaden Mexico

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