Did you know that Seminis® was the first vegetable seed company to offer sweet peppers with resistance to all 10 races of Bacterial leaf spot disease? Our X10R (Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria resistance) technology is even resistant to races 6 and 10, which are not currently available in competitor hybrids.
The technology began with X3R in 1993 to combat the challenges growers were facing with race 3. When issues began to arise with other races when using X3R, we took it a step further and created X5R. Because of our experienced breeders, we were able to foresee a need for X10R and began to develop a solution before growers ever experienced issues with X5R.
Bill McCarthy, a Seminis breeder, partnered with Dr. Bob Heisey at Asgrow and Dr. Bob Stall at the University of Florida, who had already started working on new types of resistance. The three were able to collaborate in a truly meaningful way that allowed Bill to increase the resistance to a level worthy of commercialization.
The original X10R findings from Dr. Heisey and Dr. Stall are available for all companies, but the genetics that we use, in combination with the findings, are proprietary to Seminis. We came out with our first commercial X10R product in 2009. Since then, we have launched a new X10R product each year over the last five years and are working on a sixth product launch in FY17.
“We grasped the importance of the X10R technology and ran with it in a way that allowed us to come up with commercial products faster than everybody else,” expressed Bill McCarthy.
Our breeders are always working to meet grower needs, even before growers realize them. We are continuing to trial new peppers with growers to get their first-hand experience and feedback on the products, so they can be constantly improving. While X10R is extremely important for protection against Bacterial leaf spot, there are other features that are important to us, such as quality, fruit size, yield, adaptability and resistance to other diseases.
“One thing that drives me, is an interest in products that allow the grower to use less pesticides. Growers need a stable crop, so having varieties that consistently perform and don’t have huge fluctuations in yield because of pest problems is very important to the grower, which makes it important to me,” said Bill McCarthy.
“We feel really good about our current pepper portfolio, but we also see a promising future. We’re going to continue to develop new disease resistances. We’ve also been thinking outside the box on new products and projects that are in the pipeline. We’re very excited about what we’re going to be able to deliver in the next 5 to 10 years for growers,” shared Ronnie Blackley, sales manager for the Southeast region.
For more information on our pepper breeding, check out the video below, or visit the X10R page on our website.
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