Spinach Varieties

Resistance Still Focus for Spinach Varieties

Taylor Hillman Seeds, Specialty Crops, Vegetables

Finding spinach varieties that better handle disease still tops the list for breeders, and they also continue to try and stay competitive in a multitude of markets.

New developments in spinach breeding were highlighted recently at the Rijk Zwann research farm in the Salinas Valley. General manager for Rijk Zwaan, USA, Rick Falconer, said there’s still a big focus on disease resistance. “Disease resistance in seed companies is a big deal, for us and for other companies,” Falconer said. “In spinach, downy mildew remains project number one. It’s a very severe disease here in the Salinas Valley, and breeding is primarily working toward constant changing of the new races that come out there. A lot of this work here is our breeders going through and evaluating new spinach varieties with their resistance to the new disease.”

And while disease resistance is a top concern, there are a lot of other things growers and breeders look for. “You think spinach is spinach, right? But it’s really not. It’s very diverse and a lot of vegetables are this way,” Falconer said. “In spinach you have baby leaf, bunching and processing spinach. You have different leaf shapes, textures and maturities. All of them have a market out there and certain growers in certain markets have different demands. As a breeding company, it’s important for us to be in as many markets as possible.”