LeStrange said tomato spotted wilt virus popped up in more processing tomato fields this year and growers are becoming increasingly aware of this thrips-vectored virus although incidence is still fairly isolated.
“It doesn’t seem to be hampering production. We had a few fields this last year that really suffered, but it doesn’t mean the whole region has suffered,” she noted. Still, interest in SWV resistant processing tomato varieties is growing and researchers are watching it closely as they learn more about this new virus.
“We don’t know how severe a problem it is yet. It’s too new. There are no experts on it. Growers are trying to figure out what all their tools are and how to use those tools,” LeStrange said.
Tools and strategies might include planting arrangements, managing the thrips that vector the virus and resistant varieties.
She said spotted wilt-resistant varieties are being studied in commercial seed trials and will be included in larger numbers in UC variety trials next season.
“Resistant varieties are being looked at this year but they are being planted only in variety trials. There is nothing commercial yet, but there are a couple very promising varieties that will probably be released next season,” LeStrange said.
She hopes to include a couple trials dedicated exclusively to tomato spotted wilt virus resistance in UC trials next year.