New avocado variety is the perfect complement for Hass orchards

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New avocado variety is the perfect complement for Hass orchards

Years in the making, a new avocado variety is ready to start commercial production in Mexico and the United States. The Luna UCR avocado was developed by the Spanish company Eurosemillas and the University of California Riverside (UCR). 

We spoke with Jose Antonio Aguilera, a partner at Jaliscavo, the first Mexican company to obtain authorization to reproduce the genetics, plant, and commercialize the Luna UCR avocado variety about the characteristics of the product. 

Aguilera said that the Luna UCR variety is the result of a genetic development and innovation project, called Green Motion Avocados, which brings together the main producers in each country to develop new plantations and adapt them to the country. They seek to establish commercial and genetic projects in all producing countries. In the United States, Mission Produce is a member company of the program working with this variety and genetic development.

"After two years of phytosanitary quarantine, the Luna variety has been approved and can now be planted and grown in Mexico," Aguilera said. "We are one of the countries outside the United States with full permission to work with this new variety."

He explained that in the US there are already fully cultivated Luna orchards, and in Spain, there are companies such as TROPS, a reference in the country with more than 3,000 producer partners, which is also working with this genetics.

Although there are young trees already growing in Jalisco, the project is still in its initial stages and Aguilera expects the first Luna exports to be made by the end of 2025.

Characteristics and main value

The Luna variety is part of the same lineage as the Hass avocado, so they share many characteristics.

"Hass dominates the avocado market, so it's very important that new varieties share similar characteristics," Aguilera said. "If you compare the shape, skin, taste, and color of Luna you will find that it's more than 90% similar to Hass."

This allows for the fruit to have the same commercial value as Hass avocados. 

However, Aguilera pointed out that the most distinguishing aspect of the Luna variety is that it pollinates the Hass orchards. 

"Luna is the only avocado variety that matures to black, has similar characteristics to Hass avocados, and at the same time works as a pollinator," Aguilera said. 

This is possible because Luna is a type B flower and Hass is a type A, meaning that Hass orchards also work as cross-pollinators for Luna. 

Planting methods

Jaliscavo and Green Motion Avocados are coming up with growing guidelines suggesting that for every two Hass orchard rows planted, one Luna orchard row can be planted to enhance flowering and pollination. 

"It's the perfect combination for planting. Luna exponentially increases the productivity of Hass, and vice versa," said Aguilera.

In addition, Luna trees can be planted only 1.5 meters apart from each other, while Hass trees are usually separated by a maximum of 3 meters, which means that each Hass tree will be pollinated by two Luna trees if they are planted side by side in the proposed planting frame.

By adding Luna trees to their orchards, farmers will not only increase the productivity of their Hass trees but will also see bigger volumes of fruit compared to a Hass-only orchard. 

In addition, Jaliscavo and the Green Motion platform will have 5 rootstocks in their portfolio that will allow growers to expand production areas suitable for consumption: they are researching plants resistant to the main agronomic problem of this crop, Phytophthora, as well as to conditions of salinity, drought, and increased heat.


With a view to future exports, Luna has exceptional characteristics, as it shares the same resistant outer covering that makes Hass durable during maritime transit.

"We consider that Luna will enter to supply the same markets to which Hass is shipped today, because it has the same resistance for sea transit, with an excellent shelf life," Aguilera said.

He added that another advantage is that Luna's harvest period is 3-4 weeks after Hass, which means that it can extend the avocado export seasons of producing countries that currently only export Hass.

For example, Peru, where fruit dry matter is already high in September, could extend its season into October. This could ensure high-quality fruit and longer shelf life at the destination for longer periods of the year, as well as reduced risk for the exporter.

Exports to the US

Aguilera says Luna's first exports to the US will be at the end of 2025.

For the time being, Jaliscavo's producer partners will have priority to buy the trees, and until all their demand is met, the company will not sell to external producers.

Aguilera believes that the states with the greatest potential are Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit to start new plantations, and Michoacán to be able to rejuvenate existing orchards and adapt them to the new times. It is much easier to start a new plantation with Luna trees than to renovate an old Hass field, but this variety is designed for everyone since renovations are done gradually so as not to lose productivity," he said.

"For the 2026 harvest, we already expect to have full containers of Luna avocados only, with a certain volume, which will increase year by year," he said.

In California, plantations with two rows of Hass followed by one row of Luna are projecting yields of 40 tons per hectare. In Mexico, where productivity per hectare is higher, Aguilera said they expect to harvest up to 50 tons of avocados per hectare.

Supplying a market in need

This new variety comes at a time when the market is demanding more and more avocados, and growers are looking for more productivity per tree to reduce growing costs.

Aguilera expects that once growers see how Luna avocados grow, and its competitive advantages, everyone will want to have it in their fields.

"After releasing the announcement, we have received calls from growers all over the country interested in learning more about the variety, and in buying Luna trees," Aguilera said.

The price at which the plant will be marketed has not yet been established and will be announced at the Avocado Congress to be held in Ciudad Guzman, Jalisco from August 28-30 this year.

Looking to the future, Aguilera said that they think Luna could reach up to 30% of the market share that Hass avocado has today.

More details and guidance on how to plant Luna avocados in Mexico will be released in the coming months, taking into account its particularities of planting in different producing countries.

Related article: Mexican growers get green light to plant new avocado variety

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