Syngenta has been working on the genetic improvement of rootstock for over 20 years. Going over its history, Rafael Salinas, Product Development Specialist at Syngenta for Spain and Portugal, tells us that “it has turned into a very important technology for our growing systems in recent years. Rootstock started being used in Spain at the end of the 1990s as a solution to the problems of soil diseases and over the years their use has increased, responding to other needs such as obtaining ever-longer cycles, increasing production and calibre or facing up to adverse conditions such as high or low temperatures, salinity, the actual fatigue of the soils, etc.
During this time, Syngenta has developed a range of rootstocks with different characteristics. From the first generation with Arnold and Armstrong, materials that brought great versatility and an excellent balance between vegetativity and generativity to the crops, they have moved on to the latest launches such as Kardia, which brings extra robustness to the varieties in order to respond to the most extreme growing conditions. Additionally, they are continuing with the introduction of new resistances in their portfolio. An example of this is the new rootstock that they are launching at the moment, Aorta (504109).
As well as working on rootstocks that increase production, calibre and have resistances to the most common soil diseases, in recent years, Syngenta has been working on what Rafael Salinas calls ‘winning combinations’. “Our strategy is based on the fact that there are optimum combinations between rootstock and variety (there are other that are not ideal, where the rootstock can cause an undesired behaviour in the variety).” That is to say, there are rootstocks that, for a certain region or environmental condition, are going to behave better with certain varieties, giving them an ideal balance between vegetation, generation of flowers and fruit and their quality. Likewise, there are tomato typologies that are going to need a specific type of rootstock.” This is important, as “any mistake can prove very negative for the crop.”
This year, Syngenta is launching the ‘Indispensable for your crop’ campaign. In it, they present the entire range of rootstocks, amongst which the latest launches, Kardia and Aorta, stand out.
Both are inter-specific rootstocks that stand out due to their germination rates, uniformity and useful plant for the grafting process. The root system is very strong and pivotal, ready for stressful conditions such as the compaction of the soils, extreme temperatures, etc. Both are very robust and bring the necessary strength for the crop cycles in Southern Spain. “They are ideal for grafting on varieties where we need to increase the robustness of the plant and when we need continuity in the flowering and vegetation to obtain the calibre and production in our crop.”
The great difference between the two lies in the resistances. Kardia has resistance to nematodes, verticillium wilt and fusarium (to both Fusarium oxysporumf.sp. radicis-lycopersici and to Fusarium oxysporumf.sp. lycopersici strains 1, 2, amongst others), while Aorta is also resistant to a new strain of fusarium, Fusarium oxysporumf.sp. lycopersici strains 1, 2, 3. All of this gives Aorta a root system that is highly resistant to very adverse conditions, both biotic and abiotic.