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    WillieeArmellini
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    RELEASE
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Contact: Grant Bouwer
    Tel: 760.485.5805
    Full-Field Trials Prove Promise of New Basil Varieties Downy mildew resistant varieties lower cost, increase yield
    Momence, IL
     
    Field-testing of new downy mildew resistant basil varieties has yielded positive
    results, promising the herb-industry some much needed relief from this persistent and profit-
    affecting disease. The commercially viable downy mildew resistant (DMR) varieties were
    developed by a team at Rutgers University in New Jersey, spearheaded by Jim Simon,
    distinguished professor of plant biology. The variety development was further supported by long-
    time herb pioneer Charlie Coiner in ?? and commercial partner VDF Specialty Seeds in
    Momence, Illinois. Seeds for these DMR varieties are now available from VDF Specialty Seeds.
     
    Over the past year, several DMR varieties have undergone field trials to ensure efficacy and
    viability. In a nod to basil being the “herb of love”, the varieties are: Rutgers Devotion DMR,
    Rutgers Obsession DMR, Rutgers Thunderstruck DMR and Rutgers Passion DMR. “
    At a time when consumer demand for basil is at an all-time high the industry cannot afford to suffer
    increasing loss due to downy mildew,” says Coiner. “These varieties come at a fortuitous time
    for growers expanding their market, and the past year’s trials prove the varieties are
    commercially effective.”
     
    In the 2018 season, Van Drunen Farms planted full-field trials of the four varieties of Rutgers
    Downey Mildew Resistant (DMR), resulting in tremendous increases in organic and
    conventional basil yield. “We saw a 194% increase in organic and a 15% in conventional,”
    reports David Van Drunen, VDF Specialty Seeds Manager “However, we expect 2019 yields of conventional to increase 50% since in the 2018 trials not all was able to be harvested.”
     
    Harvest quality and cost reduction were other important aspects of the full-field trials. “Leafquality of the DMR varieties was exceptional with a decrease in leaf damage, spotting and yellowing,” says Van Drunen. “And a reduction in chemical usage and labor offered additional
    cost-savings on the conventional DMR varieties. We’re still analyzing the cost reduction but typically spraying costs of non-resistant varieties average $400 per acre.”
     
    Full field trials were also performed in Hawaii in 2018, evaluating the resistance levels of three DMR commercial basil varieties marketed by
    VDF Specialty Seeds . Hawaii’s cooperative extension concluded that considering resistance, flowering, and size, the Rutgers Devotion DMR
    and Rutgers Obsession DMR varieties are a potential solution to downy mildew issues facing field basil production in Hawaii. Additionally, the trial indicated, “ Rutgers Thunderstruck DMR also displayed good characteristics but may need to target markets that will accept a slightly
    ruffled, lettuce-basil appearance.”
     
    Additionally, the patent applied for by Rutgers for the downy mildew “resistant” varieties was
    awarded in December 2018. The proprietary seeds are only available through VDF Specialty
    Seeds. To better assist growers in ordering the seeds, the company has launched a user-friendly
     
    “Quote about website – what do you want people to know about it?”
    For more information on obtaining these DMR basil varieties, please contact VDF Specialty
    Seeds at vdfss@vandrunen.com, Tel: 760-485-5805 orwww.vdfspecialtyseeds.com
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