Semillero Los Crespos will market 60% of its watermelon grafts using this method that minimises problems in the field and guarantees production.
As in other horticultural crops, the quality of the watermelon starts at the very beginning: the seed and the plant. To guarantee the harvest, it is essential to have quality grafts and the latest development here are the so-called one cotyledon grafts (OCG, also known as slant, splice, or tube grafts). One of the companies that market them is Semillero Los Crespos, a reference point in the watermelon segment (it produces over 70% of the Fashion plants). Its constant commitment to innovation and modernisation has led them to look for new techniques such as the OCG, with a new pumpkin root induced in the seedbed that prevents the regrowth of the rootstock in the field and provides important benefits for the farmer: significant adaptation to all the regions and soil types (it has greater tolerance to salinity and to sudden changes in temperature), better behaviour against diseases such as Fusarium and fungi such as didymella bryonai and as a result of this, greater vegetable healthiness, greater production and yield with fewer plants and higher fruit quality. All of this has caused a top speed increase in sales. “This year 60% of our total production of watermelon grafts will use this type and for next year, the figure will increase to 90%”, the manager, Jesús Crespo states. To start up this line of work, the company has made an important investment, since highly prepared installations are required, with an exhaustive control of temperature and humidity, as well as specialised handling.
Semillero Los Crespos is a family-run company that has just reached its 25th anniversary. One of its main clients is the AGF Group. Currently, 40% of the total production of grafts and watermelon plants from Los Crespos (around 2 million plants and grafts) correspond to Fashion seeds. The key to its success lies in the care for each of the processes, starting with the prior treatments to prevent any possible problems or diseases and in maintaining the correct conditions of heating, ventilation and humidity. For the watermelon campaign, work is started in November and the production continues until June, aimed at supplying Castilla La Mancha and Seville.
The company celebrated its 25th anniversary in December with almost 700 guests at its installations in Adra, an important event where they presented the extension of their premises, which now reach 10,000 m² and are fitted with the latest advances in agricultural technology (heating by hot water, dual display for shade and heating, humidification system, ventilators, circulators and cooling systems…). The company specialises in handling watermelons, melons, peppers and grafts, although it has an extensive catalogue of vegetables and poinsettias.