New Late Blight Resistant Tomato Varieties Being Developed

— Written By and last updated by Cloe Nichols
healthy looking tomato plants displaying late blight resistance
Heirloom-type hybrid variety with late blight resistance
heirloom tomato plants without late blight resistance showing severe disease symptoms
Heirloom tomato, ‘Akers West Virginia’ without late blight resistance

We did a harvest on our organic heirloom and heirloom-type hybrid tomato study today. All the true heirloom varieties have succumbed to late blight. Although I must say, ‘Mr. Stripey’ put up a good fight! Several of the heirloom-type hybrids that are under development in our tomato breeding program, however, are still going strong. The two varieties I’m most excited about are currently known as NC08144 and NC08224. They are large, pink-fruited ‘Brandywine’ types with early blight and late blight resistance. They were the winners in our taste tests, are providing high yields of beautiful tomatoes, and as you can see from the pictures, are performing well in a late blight infested field. All of these tomatoes are grown using practices that would be acceptable for certified organic. Our late blight spray program is Serenade + copper, five days later Sporatec + Neem, five days later Serenade + copper, etc. I don’t like relying so heavily on copper because that could lead to soil problems in the future, but this is an unusual year. We plan to do more studies on organic late blight control next year. There were three other previous posts in this blog with pictures about this study in August. This study was made possible through funding provided by Brandt Consolidated This study is located at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC Both Brandt and the research station have been very supportive of our organic tomato research program for many years.