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Léo Vaillant, Gautier Semences

“Our doubly resistant lettuce varieties are a real asset for growers”

In this particularly wet season marked by a major Bremia problem, the IBEB-EU (International Bremia Evaluation Board for the European Union) made official, on July 1st, 2024, a new race of Bremia lactucae: Bl: 41EU. This new breed has been identified in France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK, and joins the three new Bremia strains identified last year. This represents an additional challenge for growers, who have no choice but to turn to resistant varieties.

A season particularly affected by mildew
This season has been marked by heavy rainfall and the arrival of the Bl:41EU strain, which has caused major damage, mainly in northern France. Strains Bl:38, 39 and 40 EU, 3 strains officialized by IBEB-EU last year, have also been identified. Growers are therefore looking for complete Bl:29-41EU varieties to minimize the risks associated with this pathogen. But there is also great interest in varieties resistant to Fol:4 and/or Fol:1 fusariosis. Our clients are looking for varieties with double Bremia + Fusarium resistance, mainly Bremia + Fol:4, which is more prevalent in France," explains Léo Vaillant, lettuce range manager.

Zendali variety.

Anticipating disease trends by offering varieties with the most complete resistance profiles
As a lettuce specialist, Gautier Semences constantly anticipates changes in disease patterns, thanks to teams working throughout the year to offer varieties with the most complete resistance profiles right from the start of the season. In this context, the seeds company already offers a wide range of Bl: 29-41EU resistant lettuces, for both indoor and outdoor cultivation. "Our teams in the field are constantly monitoring health. We collect any Bremia sample identified to analyze its genetics and determine whether it is a potential new strain. This enables us to test our existing and developing material against these potentially interesting strains, and to determine whether or not our varieties are resistant. Depending on the results, we are able to propose the most appropriate products to respond to this problem (new products or products already in the range)."

Already resistant varieties
Although the sanitary pressure from Bremia was particularly acute this year, Gautier Semences already had commercial varieties in its lettuce range that held up well. "We are working to maximize the genetic diversity of our varieties to optimize the resistance potential of our ranges to new strains. We make sure we have several varieties for the same segment with different resistance profiles, so that we always have a solution if one of our varieties is susceptible to a new strain. The selection team works daily to develop new varieties naturally resistant to possible new strains of Bremia and to the two known strains of Fusariosis."

17 varieties with complete double resistance to Bremia
As a result, Gautier Semences currently offers 17 varieties with complete double resistance to Bremia Bl :29-41EU and Fusariosis. These varieties include 7 Batavia varieties, a core market typology, namely the Godzilla, Goleador, Gogueta, Gonzaga, Goldorac, Golem and J1492, still in trial. This range of varieties covers all planting niches. Another of the seeds company's strong points on the international market is its range of Romaine lettuce, with the Salvador, Tudor and Bonor varieties. Finally, Gautier Semences is also committed to organic farming, offering a wide range of 12 organic seed varieties of excellent quality.

For more information:
Claire Gaudin
Gautier Semences

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