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All the latest news on Starke Ayres’ vegetable seed varieties, and the success that commercial vegetable seed farmers have achieved using them.

This page will also be updated with new seed variety releases and other commercial seed industry news.

Watch out! Here comes Trinity...

Since the outbreak of Tomato curly stunt virus (ToCSV) in South Africa a number of years ago (ToCSV is part of the same family as Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV)), the industry has faced serious challenges. South Africa is a country with high bacterial and fungal disease pressures, and the added burden of this virus puts more strain on already embattled growers. Many varieties launched during this period were selected from foreign breeding programmes and had resistance to TYLCV. However, these varieties often lacked resistance to the other bacterial and fungal diseases endemic to the country. During this period the Starke Ayres tomato breeding programme focused on developing varieties which combined viral, fungal and bacterial resistances.

The English word "trinity" is derived from Latin word trinitas, meaning "the number three, a triad". This is an appropriate name for the new indeterminate round tomato launched by Starke Ayres. Previously known as the experimental variety TF 3393, Trinity possesses resistance to the three most important viral diseases in the South African tomato industry. These are Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and TYLCV.  A recent trial at the University of Johannesburg where Trinity and susceptible lines were deliberately infected with ToCSV has confirmed Trinity’s excellent tolerance not only to TYLCV, but also to the South African ToCSV. Considered to be a breakthrough in genetics, Trinity was bred to include features such as high yield, fruit quality and the combination of multi virus with strong bacterial disease resistances.  The variety was intensively trialed and tested over four seasons in different segments across the country. Results were astounding and clearly indicated that the variety has huge potential for the future. Trials conducted in the Mooketsi region of the Limpopo province showed an increase in yield of 3 kg per plant over the standard variety (Star 9037). With more and more markets requiring medium sized tomatoes, Trinity falls firmly in this segment and produced an average fruit size of 149gm in the Mooketsi trial. Being highly adaptable to various climatic conditions, Trinity gives growers complete peace of mind. The variety performed exceptionally well in areas with high virus pressure when compared to susceptible varieties. It also proved to have field resistance to black stem, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. This is the causal agent of bacterial speck and symptoms are normally associated with cooler weather. From the first experimental trials it was clear that Trinity has to be pruned to a single or double stems. This allows the variety to reach its maximum potential with very high and uniform fruit setting.

After an extended and intense product development period, Trinity has finally arrived and will reduce risks for the tomato producer. Seed is commercially available through the Starke Ayres sales network.

Open/View: Here comes TRINITY


Johan du Preez - Garden Pavilion Rep of the year 2014

Congratulations to Johan du Preez who was named the Garden Pavilion Rep of the year at the recent Garden Pavilion conference. Johan has made a valiant effort on behalf of Starke Ayres and we thank him for all his hard work!


Blooming Good

Here at Starke Ayres, Spring has sprung!  With that in mind we have kicked off the season in blooming good fashion.

Nothing shouts Spring and Summer like a colourful garden and that is why we have specially chosen 6 firm favourite, easy to grow flower varieties.  The time to plant is now, so go with the Gardeners Choice and choose from Nasturtiums, Carnations, Marigolds, Impatiens, Petunias or Portulacas and your garden will be blooming in full colour before long.

If veggies are your thing you have to try our new Special Collection baby veg range.  Bite size Sweet Peppers, Thai Gold Baby Corn and Baby Emerald Squash will add variety and fun to your garden and your diet!

And finally for the more adventurous, our Squash Patty Mix or Bitter Gourd vegetable seeds will lead you on a culinary adventure.

So start planting now for a blooming, bountiful harvest!

Open/View: Starke Ayres Spring News 2014



Clearly visible is the growth of INVINCIBLE white pumpkin production in the Western Cape. INVINCIBLE is very tolerant of sunburn, has great internal quality and stores exceptionally well. White pumpkin production in South Africa has been given an INVINCIBLE boost by the introduction of a new variety featuring the concept of “Easy to Cut, Easy to Peel” with great taste. This unique variety is called INVINCIBLE and combines the quality characteristics of a grey pumpkin BUT with a white skin colour.

The advantage of the white skin colour is the improved tolerance to sunburn and this reduces grower risk significantly. Particularly important in areas where pumpkins are grown with vines, this tolerance allows a crop to remain on the land while grapes are harvested. INVINCIBLE also stores exceptionally well because discoloration of the white skin colour is much slower than with many grey pumpkins.

INVINCIBLE has a semi-bush growth habit with deep-flat shaped fruits and a thin, smooth skin. The flesh is much thicker and seed cavity smaller than most grey pumpkins. These features give INVINCIBLE an excellent size to weight ratio. This is one of the key aspects that attracted Preiss Visser of the farm Vorentoe to INVINCIBLE. Preiss has limited land available for pumpkin production and INVINCIBLE delivered for him a second year in a row. Preiss harvested 170 bins per hectare with an average weight of 5kg per fruit. Average fruit diameter was 28cm. Congratulations again Preiss with this excellent achievement.

Open/View: INVINCIBLE in the Cape


Shine Bright Like a *DIAMOND

It has been said that the most valuable feature of any diamond is the feeling it stirs in the person who puts it on and shows it off. It is perhaps for this reason diamonds have been described as a girl's best friend.  Not anymore! 

The new hybrid broccoli DIAMOND is set to become a farmer's best friend.  Characteristics such as a smooth, dome shaped head, low cut stem, medium sized beads, no hollow stem and best of all extremely quick maturity take DIAMOND a cut above the rest.  DIAMOND delivered a flawless performance when it was trialled as BR 621at major growers in Gauteng, KZN, and the Cape during last summer.  Bred to endure extremes in summer and winter, DIAMOND can be grown as a year round variety in many areas.  In summer DIAMOND can mature in as little as 60 days. Maturity may vary by as much as 10-25 days between mid- summer and mid-winter plantings (area andclimate dependant). Maturity is very uniform with a high first cut percentage. 

Apart from DIAMOND being  a quick and  highly adaptable variety, its other outstanding feature is that it can be cut very low at the base, making it ideal for a pre pack.  In DIAMOND we have unearthed yet another gem for broccoli growers. For an outstanding, high yielding broccoli designed for the fresh and pre pack market make DIAMOND part of your broccoli programme this summer!

For advice on growing slots for your specific area contact your area representative or our call centre for more advice.


Open/View: Shine bright like a diamond - Broccoli


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