Westfalia to reshape avocado industry with new rootstocks

westfalFollowing more than two decades of thorough testing as part of its rootstock breeding and screening program, the Westfalia Fruit Group is releasing two new avocado rootstocks, co-owned by Westfalia and The South African Avocado Growers’ Association, for commercial sale under the Merensky name.

Trees of these two new avocado rootstocks are being trademarked under the names of Leola (Merensky 6) and Zerala (Merensky 5). The novel rootstocks yield healthier trees and better-producing orchards under challenging growing conditions than do other industry-standard rootstocks, as confirmed in recent trials. The rootstocks have been released in the USA and South Africa, with commercial roll-out to be expanded as further trials deliver similarly positive results.

For almost 40 years, Westfalia’s R&D division, Westfalia Technological Services, has been researching disease-tolerant clonal rootstocks to develop selections with superior tree health and yields. The Group’s existing avocado rootstocks Latas (Merensky 1) and Dusa (Merensky 2), which were successfully developed and tested over two decades, have enjoyed increasing success with the support of loyal licencees, specifically Brokaw Nurseries from Ventura, CA, and its affiliates across the Spanish-speaking world. These rootstocks offer high root-rot tolerance and higher yields, with Dusa® also offering some salinity tolerance. To date, Dusa has been the top seller among clonally propagated rootstocks worldwide. Protected under Plant Breeders’ Rights, it is grown successfully in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Israel, the USA, South America and South Africa. More than 1.5 million Dusa trees are sold annually in the commercial market.

Now, with the launch of Leola and Zerala, co-owned by Westfalia and the South African Avocado Growers’ Association, growers are presented with higher-yielding rootstocks developed to suit a range of growing conditions around the world. This supports the group’s reputation as avocado experts and as a pioneer in the avocado industry, and also enhances Westfalia’s ability to plant sustainable and productive orchards of its own.

The rootstocks were evaluated under a broad range of production conditions in various countries. Demonstrating tolerance to Phytophthora cinnamomi root-rot under heavy infection pressure, Leola was shown to outperform Duke 7 — the previous industry-standard rootstock — in initial productivity screening, and even outperformed Dusa in recent trials. In addition to being selected for its high standard of productivity, Zerala is Westfalia’s rootstock of choice for growing in areas facing salinity challenges. Both new rootstocks will continue to undergo large-scale monitored plantings and trials.

South African growers can contact their preferred Avocado Nurserymen’s Association accredited nursery directly to enquire about the commercial availability of these rootstocks.

The launch is of great significance to the global avocado industry, making greater yields possible under a range of challenging growing conditions and allowing larger volumes of fruit to be produced and marketed across the globe, to meet growing consumer demand.

USDA cites Ohio business for $800K PACA violations
As a part of its efforts to enforce the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and ensure fair trading practices within the U.S. produce industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on PK Produce Inc. in Canton, OH, for failing to meet its contractual obligations to the sellers of produce it Read More ...
Sobeys expands curbside pickup service
Sobeys is expanding its e-commerce offering to Atlantic Canada with the launch of Voilà by Sobeys Curbside Pickup. Now available at three Sobeys store locations in Nova Scotia, the new service offers a freshness guarantee and products at affordable prices with no hidden fees. Orders are assembled with care by Voilà by Read More ...
IPC helps foodservice operators make changes to meet COVID-era challenges
Portability, profitability, innovation and menu simplification. Those topics were the themes of a webinar presented by the Idaho Potato Commission as part of Restaurants Rise, an initiative launched in May by Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality. The initiative has included live virtual events to aid Read More ...
Indianapolis Fruit Co. expands robust team
Indianapolis Fruit Co. remains focused on being a leading super-regional produce and specialty foods distributor providing premium quality products and unprecedented customer experiences through experts who care. The company, a business unit of IF&P Foods and the FreshEdge Group of Cos., primarily services the retail Read More ...
Meijer vet joins SpartanNash leadership
SpartanNash Co. has hired Shaquanda Gordon as vice president of human resources, talent and diversity. Gordon will build on the company's efforts to ensure a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce by driving the overall human capital strategy for the organization. In this newly created position, she will lead the human Read More ...
Index Fresh hires seasoned sales representative Susie Rea
In a move to bolster its sales efforts, Index Fresh hired Susie Rea this month. Rea has a great reputation in the avocado industry and brings with her an extremely successful 23-year career in produce sales, supported by strong industry relationships globally. “Susie is an incredibly dynamic sales professional with an Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse