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Canada: Growing red pepper portfolio helps red pepper growers

Following crop visits in and around British Columbia, Hans van Haeff with Syngenta reports on the red pepper variety Gina and introduces Kalvijn (PR09518). In addition, Plant Products Seed Division manager Andrew Dick gives an impression on Ontario’s East Coast crops with the larger fruited reds Felicitas and new-comer Francelia.

Growing acreage of Gina
"After planting Gina in the second half of December 2019 we saw a quick root development and plants were growing strong and healthy. Due to less light in January, and all through February in BC most growers steered towards first fruit set with a short pre-night of around 17 degrees", says Hans. "With a first fruit set on the 3rd axil, the following axils were pruned in order to maintain a good plant balance. As light increased in March and April the plants recovered and the second fruit set developed with 2 fruits per stem grown in a 3 stem V system." 

This year Gina is cultivated on 230 hectares in the Netherlands and in BC an increasing number of growers are recognising the consistent quality and the stable fruit weight of Gina. "More growers are finding that Gina is an ideal choice to provide the markets with high quality fruits and meeting demands with a flavorful product", Hans says. 

Growers were harvesting the 3rd setting in the past weeks with production up to 4 kg/m2 in 3 weeks. The production up to week 21 is around 9.5 kg/m2. "Under better light conditions it wasn’t necessary to use a lower pre-night temperature for Gina to achieve good fruit setting. With average night temperatures of 19.5 to 20 degrees we have noticed optimal second and third fruit settings. Steering with sufficiently warm temperatures is important in order to prevent big flowers. Maintaining an average day temperature of around 25 degrees on bright days will help to keep plant balance. Maintaining the right temperature strategy is important to let Gina reach its full potential." 

Gina is known for maintaining vigor and strong roots through the season which will pay off with an excellent quality even under severe summer conditions. Usage of the screen for shading the crop is not necessary until above 700 Watts/m2 as the fruits have thick walls and have sufficient leaf coverage. Continuously checking on fruit temperature and watching the crop is determining the usage of the screen.

Kalvijn ( PR09518 ): A new high-potential variety for red
In addition to the success of Gina, Syngenta is also introducing new red pepper varieties. One of them is Kalvijn, Hans shows. "This highly productive variety is excellent for value packing as it has the right weight and size to match 3 pack-specifications." 

The Kalvijn characteristics include high productivity, a regular even production pattern, a high number of suitable fruits for packaging, a balanced growth with fruit load of all stages and a HR TM:0-3. "In trials in BC Kalvijn started off with a rapid root development and good vegetative growth", he says. 

Towards the first fruit setting the plant needs steering to improve flowers by reducing the night temperature or implementing a short pre-night. "Aim to let 1 fruit per stem set under BC winter conditions in order to let the plant quickly proceed with second fruit set."

"At the moment, we see well balanced Kalvijn crops with high number of fruits which are nicely divided in different stages of development. This will help to achieve a more consistent production pattern. The plants are now producing high numbers of fruits that are ideal for packaging to secure a successful crop and a high return." 

Francelia: highly productive red XXL pepper
Francelia was first trialed in Canada in 2018 and Plant Products Seed Division manager Andrew Dick tells how they immediately observed very strong setting ability especially considering the very large fruit size with an earliness and total yield advantage over other “true bulk” pepper varieties. "Advanced trials in 2019 confirmed our experience from 2018 and more as it was seen to be strong against blossom end rot and maintained uniform stems through heavy load." 

Also growers confirm these experiences. Gene Ingratta of Allegro Acres shared, “In 2019, Allegro Acres had 0.5 acres of Francelia; the overall production, quality and especially the AFW being XL to XXL in the latter part of the year was what really encouraged Allegro to go to 6 acres of Francelia in 2020.”

The Francelia characteristics include a strong ability for setting in hot conditions, having plant power all season and a uniformity / stability of AFW and shape. In addition it keeps its blocky shape even under stress conditions, an XL and XXL AFW and very thick walls. The variety has a HR: Tm: 0-3  IR: Lt. 

"Nearly every grower in Ontario that targets the bulk red pepper segment has commercial area or at least a trial of Francelia in the greenhouse in 2020. Seed availability was limited for crops this year; we have planned for significant growth but growers should order early to ensure supply," Andrew adds. 

Felicitas:  A standard in the “bulk” segment for years
Then there's Felicitas. "This variety remains a fit for many growers seeking XL+ Fruit Size and excellent quality, particularly in poly greenhouses in eastern Canada", Andrew explains.  Year after year, Felicitas finishes strong to hold a place among the top varieties in the market.

For more information:
Plant Products
Mike Dooley
Technical Seed Sales Representative   
+1 303-746-8607 mobile

Andrew Dick  
Seeds Division Manager   
+1 519-563-8785 mobile 

Syngenta Canada
Jeroen Iprenburg  
Technical Sales Rep – Active Greenhouse Crops  
+1 303.709.9487 mobile

Hans van Haeff  
Technical Sales Rep – Active Greenhouse Crops  
+1 (236) 335-7894 mobile 

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