DEVELOPMENT OF GRAFTING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE SUSTAINABILITY AND COMPETITIVENESS OF THE U.S. FRUITING VEGETABLE INDUSTRY
Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology Research
Project Number: 6618-22000-040-04
Start Date: Sep 01, 2011
End Date: Aug 31, 2013
1. To optimize grafting technologies to reduce costs of producing and distributing grafted seedlings and to make the technology readily available to U.S. open-field producers.
2. To integrate discovery-based, applied and on-farm research to optimize field production outcomes.
Growers of tomatoes and melons currently face many environmental, technical and market forces that demand innovative solutions to overcome constraints or to expand into emerging markets. For example, much of the fruiting vegetable industry, particularly in the southern production regions, has relied on fumigation as the primary soilborne pest management tactic. In contrast, emerging markets include extended season production using high tunnels, organic and specialty varieties, increased immigration, with an associated demand for fresh vegetables, and a general heightened awareness of health benefits with fresh vegetable consumption. Host genetics, if properly developed and deployed, offers sustainable mechanisms to manage soilborne pests and optimize productivity. By uncoupling root genetics from scion genetics through grafting, growers can produce superior varieties to meet market needs or rapidly adapt to new market conditions, yet choose site-specific rootstock solutions to soilborne pests and farming systems.