A contingency of U.S. begonia specialists recently completed a visit to the Dümmen Orange, Las Mercedes, production farm in El Salvador to observe recent production stock improvements. Visitors to the farm included representatives from root-and-sell operations, brokerages, and finish growers, hosted by the Dümmen Orange Greencare team. Recent efforts have focused on defining and implementing improvements to ensure a reliable, quality supply of begonia cuttings for spring 2019.
A notable enhancement to the begonia stock protocol includes a bioassay assessment that serves to screen each and every cutting used for stock buildup. This step supports a commitment to “start clean,” and requires that 1.2 million cuttings are assayed for an eight week period prior to introduction into the stock facility. In addition to the stock screening, a second round of bioassay is underway that will index all begonia elite stock for 2020 and beyond. This is the new standard for Dümmen Orange begonia production at Las Mercedes.
Additional measures have been implemented to enhance the begonia program through improvements to infrastructure, protocol, and communication:
• All begonia growing areas have been thoroughly sanitized and all growing media replaced. Gutters have been reinforced and plastic partitions have been installed between rows.
• Stock areas have been separated into smaller phytosanitary units, with two-step tool sterilization and more frequent, randomized scouting measures in place.
• A contingency plan defines additional production safety buffers and a communication strategy to share updates with the market quickly via technical specialist Diana Shull.
Visitors evaluated the mother stock plants that will serve as the cutting supply for both Elatior and I’Conia begonia orders for spring 2019. Feedback from the visit confirmed that the facility is in top shape to support a high-quality delivery season. Fresh from the visit, customer and finish grower Steve Pleima shared his feedback.
"I have been describing to the staff here at Sunshine Growers what I observed and the time involved before any cutting can be shipped," he said, according to a press release. "This has probably been the most informative trip I have ever taken within the industry.”
URC shipments of Dümmen Orange begonia begin in week 40 for U.S. and Canadian markets
Photo courtesy of Dümmen Orange