BASF shapes the processing tomato market

with disease resistance and high yield

BASF’s Nunhems® brand has taken the tomato market in California by storm with N 6428
- the first variety to balance F3-resistance with a significantly higher yield.

For the last 25 to 30 years, Fusarium Wilt Race 3 (F3) has been a problem for growers in the Sacramento Valley, California. Around 20% of the soil is already affected by F3 and the problem is continuing to spread throughout the State. The fungus infects the vascular tissue of tomato plants, reducing their vital water-conducting capabilities and inducing wilting. F3 resistance has been particularly difficult to breed into commercial tomato varieties, the majority of which have offered below average yields.

The BASF solution for F3: N 6428 and N 6434

With a commitment to addressing the needs of processors and growers, BASF was determined to rise to the challenge. Finally, after breeding for F3 resistance since the late 1990s, the company now has a solution. N 6428 offers customers high-quality processing tomatoes with F3 resistance and an extra increase in yield.

Further strengthening BASF’s offering to the industry, is the recent introduction of N 6434. N 6434 offers the advantages of N 6428, including industry standard high-yield, with the added advantage of increased brix levels – important for processors of value added sauces and soups.

Fusarium Wilt Race 3

F3 on the right side if the field

N 6428
The Nunhems solution for F3: N 6428

Sales Manager for the Americas

Carl Hill, Sales Manager for the Americas explained:

“Other companies have F3-resistant varieties, but ours offers growers the highest yield available in the market with the added security of F3 resistance.”

BASF is globally recognized for its innovative introduction of disease-resistant varieties. These include the Taylor variety that is resistant to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) for the market in South Italy. And just like this innovation, N 6428 has changed the market. Since its introduction in 2015, N 6428 has grown from a 2,500-acre share of California’s 240,000-acre tomato market, to an expected 12,000+ acres in 2018. That represents over 600,000 tons or over 23,000 truckloads of tomatoes - unprecedented growth from a single variety that will climb in 2 years to be one of the best-selling varieties in California.

Clearly, N 6428 is a resounding success with the right disease package for customers. Not only does it have viscosity for sauces and ketchups, it also has an extremely high peel and dice recovery. Furthermore, it is ideally suited for organic production, with good field-holding properties that offers more flexibility for growers and processors as they can use field storage to extend the harvest window.

Innovative, always by your side

But the success of N 6428 could also be attributed to the unique way of working together. The company is a global specialist with a dedicated tomato team that focusses on customer needs. BASF shares information, bringing knowledge and expertise to the market to address ever-changing needs and provide growers and processors with added value. From strategy, tactics and crop management to growers, breeders and scientists, the whole team works together, globally and locally, to develop unique solutions that offer customers differentiation in a highly-competitive marketplace.

Regional Sales Manager EMEA

Hatem Abdeen, Regional Sales Manager EMEA

“We look into the traits and the direction of the breeders; disease package,
food types, fruit wall thickness. There are many numbers of traits that we can develop, but we start with disease resistance.

The industry in general is under pressure with low prices for the growers and over supply of paste lowering the prices of the produce, so they need to balance disease and tonnage without affecting the characteristics as processors won’t compromise on such as color. If we have a variety with resistance it will help to manage the field – grow more, spray less.”

High yield, good quality, multi-usability

With a long history in processing tomatoes, BASF is well-versed in the three most important factors for customers – disease resistance, quality and yield. Multiple screenings are carried out at trial locations in different areas. There is a very strict selection criterion between each trail, requiring many years of observation and selection by the crop teams and product development teams. It means that growers can expect the varieties to have high yield, a good level of quality, and better value for processing in terms of multi-usability. And thanks to the all-important disease resistance, growers can also reduce chemical application rates to save on production costs.

Global Product Specialist

Luigi Tarozzi, Global Product Specialist explained what he thinks
makes the Nunhems brand unique:

“It is the wide variety of tomatoes and combination of the different traits –
yield, disease and quality – that are adapted to different growing conditions.
This means that tomato growers, all over the world, can have a high-quality, disease-resistant variety that enables them to profit from a high yield.”

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