Thang has been growing capsicums on his property north east of Adelaide for over 10 years. Open to new innovations and hybrids, he partnered with Monsanto to compare Remy and SVH5581PH. Remy is extensively grown locally, which has created some issues with disease resistance as Bamo and tomato spotted wilt are established.
Setting up houses side by side, to ensure the hybrids were grown in similar conditions, Thang monitored the two varieties performance. The result has strongly been in favour of SVH5581PH in terms of disease resistance, yield and marketable product.
Throughout the trial the trees and fruit were checked visually and measured to get an accurate picture. Issues and data were shared with Monsanto to help them understand the performance of the new hybrid.
Thang observed a number of differences between the two hybrids. Remy, he said, had wider leaves, consistent height and was more luscious. The SVH5581PH, in comparison, had inconsistent height and narrower leaves that required additional care in summer to prevent sun-damaged fruit. This was overcome by applying chalk to the fruit prior to hot conditions.
The performance of the SVH5581PH was tested unexpectedly when a severe storm tore off the cover of one of the houses exposing the fruit to severe heat the following day. Expecting the worse, Thang was surprised to find that the hybrid yielded more than Remy even when factoring in sun damaged fruit.
When monitoring Thang noticed the SVH5581PH hybrid resisted diseases that were impacting Remy. The only time SVH5581PH did show signs of disease was when the plant was stressed and then it was isolated only to that plant. Thang said monitoring the health of the plants and making sure they were not heat or water stressed stopped disease and it spreading from stressed plants.
Dubbing the SVH5581PH smart fruit, Thang said unlike the Remy, the plant pushed the fruit out so that the capsicum didn’t become distorted and unappealing for consumers. In the Remy houses, Thang and his team of workers push the fruit out as it causes wastage.
When harvesting, Remy averaged 2.5 bins per house while SVH5581PH produced 1.5 bins. On the face of it this might appear SVH5581PH underperformed but when packing into trays its larger shape, heavier and more marketable fruit filled four trays compared to two of Remy. Thang put this down to less wastage due to misshapen or poor quality fruit found in Remy.