Nunhems has unveiled its latest lettuce offering which includes smaller, more flavourful Romaines, multileaf varieties adapted for mechanised harvesting and icebergs that help growers extend their harvesting season.
The company is presenting the range to Spanish producers during a series of demonstration days at its research centre in the Murcian town of La Palma this week.
BASF’s horticultural seed brand said the varieties had the potential to change the rules of the international lettuce market, thanks to their organoleptic quality and suitability to high-density cultivation and mechanised harvesting.
The company highlighted its Magistral Romaine lettuce, which is harvested from the end of February to the beginning of April. It is described as a compact and very heavy variety that includes high resistance to Tip Burn, as well as other advantages inherited from Glamoral, the market-leading winter variety.
Together with Sideral, they complete the Romaine harvesting calendar from November to July.
The range reflects the trend towards smaller, more flavourful varieties weighing around 450g a piece, that are popular on the UK market and will shortly be introduced to Spanish consumers.
“Our market studies confirm that the consumption and market value of Romaine lettuce is decreasing in Spain. This is due to the current supply of large and over-ripe lettuce which is out of step with consumer demand,” said Alfonso Fernández, lettuce specialist at BASF Vegetable Seeds.
Nunhems also introduced two other new Romaine varieties, NUN 6193 LTL and NUN 06567 LTL, which are suitable for mechanised harvesting.
“Both varieties offer a high yield per square metre and are characterised by their extra-sweet taste. In both cases, their suitability for processing and resisting to oxidation after mechanical cutting is very good,” the company said.
In the Mini-Romaine lettuce category, BASF presented NUN 06549 LTL, a classic mini-romaine that stands out for its wide harvesting calendar throughout the winter and spring and also because of its resistance to Tip Burn (from mid-February to summer).
The company also unveiled Multigreen 114, a new variety suitable for mechanised harvesting in the multileaf category with the potential to reduce labour costs and respond to the demand of the processing markets in Northern Europe, where labour availability is beginning to pose a problem.
In Iceberg, the Goldiva was the main attraction thanks to its long harvesting period and enduring freshly-cut appearance, while Thicket and Thespian were two new offerings in the Little Gem category, the former for the autumn-winter campaign and the latter for the summer season.
Finally in spinach, Nunhems will showcase its Serpens variety for the autumn and spring and Regor for the winter cycle.