The story about New Delhi resistance

New Delhi resistance: a grower's story

The Tomato Leaf Curl New Delhi Virus (ToLCNDV) has been a serious problem for many cucurbit growers for numerous years, especially in the Mediterranean region. To help growers face this challenge, Rijk Zwaan recently presented a solution: Delhi Defense. Last season, growers in various countries gained experience with the first ‘Delhi Defense’ variety: Huracan RZ. In this story, Spanish cucumber grower Juan Jose Rodriguez talks to Javier Lopez Rodriguez, Crop Specialist at Rijk Zwaan, about what makes the New Delhi virus such a serious threat, why he opted for a Delhi Defense variety and also about his first-hand experiences with this variety.

New Delhi virus is a serious threat

ToLCNDV is a serious threat to cucumber growers. “In Spain, especially during the planting season in September and October, an average of 10-15% of the plants show symptoms of this virus,” says Juan Jose Rodriguez, a cucumber grower in Spain. “The New Delhi virus is very aggressive and results in a drop in income for growers. If you notice symptoms on your plants, you suffer stress and sleepless nights.” Javier Lopez Rodriquez responds: “That’s why Rijk Zwaan conducted intensive research in order to develop resistance against this virus. Our first Delhi Defense variety, Huracan RZ, fully delivers on the promise of Rijk Zwaan’s Defense line: offering growers peace of mind during the cultivation process.”

Besides a loss of production and damage to their reputation, another consequence of this virus for growers is a higher labour cost. “To reduce the transmission of the virus, all the affected plants have to removed, which requires additional manual work. Moreover, you need to take more corrective action to reduce the Bemisia Tabaci population, which is the vector of the New Delhi virus.”

“Huracan RZ solves the issue of production loss caused by infection with the New Delhi virus. In addition, Delhi Defense means that growers can reduce their use of crop protection agents and optimise integrated pest management, leading to improved sustainability and cost savings. Both sustainable production and delivery continuity are extremely important,” adds Javier Lopez Rodriguez. Resistant vegetable varieties like Huracan RZ contribute to food security thanks to improving production stability and reducing food waste.

Suitable for Spanish cultivation

“Each year, Spanish growers manage to achieve year-round production by cultivating various different crops. Many of these crops are susceptible to contamination with ToLCNDV, leading to the presence of high Bemisia Tabaci populations. Dealing with this challenge is extremely difficult for growers and can lead to a lot of stress. Luckily, a solution like Delhi Defense gives growers more peace of mind and eases many of their concerns during the cultivation process, which is very important to them. Delhi Defense offers us more possibilities to have success with our crop,” says Juan Jose Rodriguez.

Delhi Defense varieties vs conventional varieties

“It is really impressive to see the difference between the susceptible variety and the Delhi Defense variety when entering the greenhouse. At a glance, you can see a clear difference between the infected plants – which have few or no fruits and yellowing leaves – and the Delhi Defense varieties. In the case of Huracan RZ, the plants are surprisingly strong and healthy with all the fruits growing just as they are supposed to grow.”

“Our first experiences with Huracan RZ have been really good,” continues Juan Jose Rodriguez. “At first, I thought that a variety with such an important resistance would have a negative effect on the production, for example. However, after an entire season of growing Huracan RZ, I can conclude that this is absolutely not the case. On the contrary, the variety has very good production, high fruit quality and a very strong resistance package. I will definitely choose Huracan RZ again next season.” “Huracan RZ offers a complete package of resistances, making a grower’s life much easier,” adds Javier Lopez Rodriguez.

Why Delhi Defense?

“As soon as I learned about Rijk Zwaan’s Delhi Defense commercial varieties, I immediately tried a variety in one greenhouse. I trust Rijk Zwaan thanks to various other solutions they’ve offered for cucumbers in the past few years, such as BlueLeaf, and resistances against Oidium, CGMMV (Bon Defense) and Fusarium (For Defense). Rijk Zwaan has built up a very good reputation when it comes to cucumbers. When you think of cucumbers, you automatically think of Rijk Zwaan,” concludes Juan Jose Rodriguez.