The brand Nunhems® has presented new lettuce varieties intended for the summer cycle which are resistant to Fusarium. Consequently, Bayer is supplying growers with varietal solutions that will allow them to mitigate the impact of this fungus, which for some years has seriously threatened the profitability of the Spanish open ground lettuce sector.

The incorporation of resistance to the Fusarium fungus complements the rest of the standard qualities that the lettuce range from Nunhems® already features. Thus, the new varieties for the summer cycle retain the agronomic characteristics that are so appreciated by all the links of the food chain, and which are essential to obtain a quality harvest in adverse conditions, with high temperatures and very little humidity.

The most noteworthy of these new varieties is the NUN 01163, an iceberg lettuce with very good formation and resistance to tipburn and mildew, as well as to the aforementioned Fusarium fungus. "We are committed to offering varietal solutions in the face of a serious problem that has spread rapidly in a few years, because it is the best way for the producer to ensure the profitability of his/her harvest," assures Carlos del Espino, salads sales specialist at Vegetable Seeds in Bayer, who recommends the use of resistant varieties, even if the symptoms that reveal the presence of Fusarium are not visible.

Constant innovation
The new varieties have been entirely developed by Bayer's lettuce team. For several years, different plant materials have been crossed; until last summer, when the improvement process was completed with the experimental tests carried out in the field. After the trials, Bayer lettuce experts have finally selected the varieties with the most outstanding characteristics for large-scale marketing.

In the first stage, the resistance to Fusarium was added to iceberg lettuce, given that this is the most widespread variety in terms of acreage, as well as the most demanded by marketers and distributors. Bayer continues its work on varietal improvement with the goal of presenting other lettuce varieties with the same resistance in the coming months.

The excellent results obtained with Iceberg lettuce have been announced during a technical meeting held in Águilas, attended by dozens of lettuce producers, mainly from the highlands of Murcia and Almeria, where most of the crops are grown during the summer.

During the event, Juan Francisco Muñoz, Bayer lettuce improver, has provided information on the work carried out in recent years to be able to offer the current portfolio to producers. Along with him, Daniel Jiménez, a phytopathologist from Bayer, has delivered a full presentation on vascular fusariosis in lettuce, describing the origin of this disease and its reproductive mechanisms. The Bayer expert recalled that high temperatures and crop repetition are the two ideal conditions for the appearance of Fusarium. Once the disease has been detected, the fungus withers the lettuce and the crop cannot be marketed, causing serious economic losses to producers.

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