There is an ever-increasing range of asparagus varieties available to nurseries and growers across the globe. At first, the sheer volume of hybrids can seem confusing, but on closer inspection, it becomes clear that there are improved varieties to suit growers’ specific needs in particular circumstances.
Asparagus hybrids are high on the agendas of many people in the industry at the moment, particularly in response to what was a tough harvest for a lot of producers in 2018. The natural reaction might be one of reticence towards future planting. However, it is important to correctly evaluate the reasons behind the issues and make careful plans going forward. Selecting the best cultivars from a whole range of new and improved types is a key factor in future business planning in asparagus production.
In the past, even the quite recent past, asparagus producers were able to select their cultivar of choice from a relatively limited range on offer. These days, a new generation of asparagus cultivars has come to market. As a result, growers can now choose from improved hybrids, offering better quality, season extension, longer spears, improved uniformity, reduced waste, lower harvesting costs, as well as higher yields.
When deciding what and how much to plant, it is imperative for asparagus growers to fully understand the benefits offered by these improved varieties. Taken together, they can offer significant improvements in terms of marketable yield per hectare, increasing production efficiencies. Therefore, it is important to balance these improvements with the opportunities presented by the market in individual territories.
At Global Plant Genetics, for temperate and cool climates, they are working with some of these “new generation” asparagus cultivars, not least the hybrids emanating from the University of Guelph in Canada (Guelph Eclipse, Guelph Millennium and Guelph Equinox) and the early and extremely high-yielding Greenic, as well as their first white asparagus variety, Vittorio.