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Commercial Farming of Grafted Seedlings

Reasons to Commercially Farm Vegetables from Grafted Seedlings    

Grafting is a well-established technique used in agriculture, specifically to develop the desired characteristics in plants. The first use of the technique for agricultural purposes dates back to 200 BC. Though it was originally only used in China, it spread to other parts of Asia and later to Greece. Grafted seedlings are now available to farmers in South Africa for the commercial propagation of vegetables such as watermelon, cucumber, tomato, pepper, and melon. Farmers around the world grow vegetable crops from grafted seedlings; in fact, in countries such as Spain and Greece, 100% of the watermelon crops are grown from grafted seedlings. Commercial grafting is still a relatively new practice when it comes to commercial vegetable farming but, as more and more farmers experience the benefits, one can expect an increase in the use of grafted seedlings as available from trusted commercial nurseries.

High Tolerance for Diseases and Soil-Borne Pathogens

High tolerance for diseases is one major benefit. With grafting, the traits of vegetable plants are developed to ensure that the plants have an improved tolerance for particular diseases. As such, farmers benefit from reduced plant losses related to disease and can use fewer chemicals to treat plants suffering from specific diseases. Such plants also show a better resistance to soil-borne pathogens, reducing the need for chemical treatments and improving stand and yield. Grafted seedlings thus provide a good crop foundation. The plants are grown in greenhouse facilities where they are protected against pests and diseases before being delivered to the farm.

Chemical and Pesticide Treatments

The plants are chemically treated before delivery and, as such, farmers receive plants that are free of pests and diseases and have already has their first chemical treatments. This means that farmers save on the costs of those initial treatments and have enough time to initiate their own chemical-treatment programmes. With fewer pesticide treatments necessary because of the plants’ high resistance to pests and diseases, farmers reduce the environmental impact of commercial vegetable farming.

Increased Yield and Better Uniformity

An increase in yield is another benefit reported by farmers. As such, commercial growers enjoy higher profits, which are important to stay competitive in crop farming today. An improvement in fruit quality has also been reported so, unlike where a higher yield may, in the past, have been associated with a lower fruit quality, farmers have the benefit of both. Growing from grafted seedlings provides the benefit of better stand and uniformity too. Plants of the same size and with the same characteristics are delivered, ensuring crop uniformity, so the farmer can make more accurate projections of harvesting time, yield, and quality, as well as profits.

Improved Tolerance of Biotic Stress

Grafting has made it possible to, for instance, improve the stand of watermelons and their tolerance of biotic stress, as the rootstock used in the grafting is tolerant to soil-borne diseases. This makes it possible to cultivate watermelons intensively.

Where to Go

Pest- and disease-free grafted seedlings can be ordered in bulk from Hishtil South Africa, where the plants are grown in special greenhouse facilities. Deliveries are made to farmers across South Africa.

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