Jamie Petchell of Global Plant Genetics offers an update on a crop that has been greatly influenced by climatic conditions this season

Global Plant Genetics (GPG) has released an update on this year’s European asparagus crop, which it has said could be characterised to date as “one of changing fortunes”.

GPG European asparagus

According to GPG’s Jamie Petchell, much of this was down to climatic factors, as is ever the case with the asparagus crop.

”Record rainfall levels over the autumn, winter and early spring increased the risks of soil-borne diseases in both new and established crops,” he explained. ”Then towards the end of March, temperatures were high, and harvests started with reasonable early volumes in certain territories.

”For most, this only lasted for a matter of days and cool easterly winds then contributed to lower temperatures across the northern part of the European continent and as a result, yields and fresh asparagus supply dropped back to low levels.

”Harvests began to pick up again towards the end of April and it seems that most growers are currently at higher production levels than at the same time in 2023,” Petchell noted.

The forecast for the coming weeks looked relatively stable, he outlined, and so supplies should remain at consistently manageable levels through the peak of the season.

There had been an overall reduction in asparagus production area globally over the past five years, Petchell confirmed.

”In some ways, this has helped with sales of the fresh product, and we have witnessed a relative return of confidence in new plantings over the past twelve months.”

With a long-term crop such as asparagus, it was important to make long-term decisions in terms of production and marketing strategies, he continued.

”At GPG, we play our part in this process by helping growers and marketers to choose varieties that will contribute to the overall profitability and sustainability of the sector in terms of yields, spear quality and harvest timings.

“We look forward to seeing a strong second half of the season for all involved in European asparagus production and marketing,” Petchell added.