The Spanish region of Extremadura has more than 5,000 hectares devoted to broccoli production, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture. Just a few years ago, the Center for Scientific Research and Technologies of Extremadura (Cicytex) started a project to learn how this crop, as well all its entire family (brassicas) adapts to the fields of the autonomous region. The researchers conducted trials with 25 varieties of broccoli, 20 of cauliflower and 15 of cabbage with the aim of "studying their acclimatization, crop cycles, productions and characteristics in the agroclimatic conditions of Extremadura," they explained.
The Cicytex team has recently shown the results of these field trials (at the La Order Farm) to the agricultural sector, cooperatives and companies devoted to the production of frozen and dehydrated products.
A healthy vegetable
The study on brassica crops is part of the Crostex Agros project ‘Sustainability of horticultural productions in the irrigated areas of Extremadura’. There is a wide range of brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower...) and the most developed in the region is broccoli. Its cultivation has expanded significantly over the last ten years in Extremadura, with the acreage going from about 1,500 hectares to approximately 5,000 hectares. "The vegetable is considered a superfood with very healthy characteristics, so the demand for it is on the rise," says Cicytex.
In Extremadura, broccoli and other brassicas are autumn crops intended for industrial transformation into frozen and dehydrated products, although in recent years the acreage for their cultivation in spring has grown significantly, mainly in the Vegas Altas del Guadiana.