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Brassicas: an evaluation of autumn/winter cauliflower cultivars, spring cabbage cultivars and other winter Brassica crops

Research

FV 202g - Brassicas: an evaluation of autumn/winter cauliflower cultivars, spring cabbage cultivars and other winter Brassica crops

Start Date: 
01/04/2014
Completion Date: 
30/06/2017
Project Leader: 
Bill Herring, Duchy College
Code: 
FV 202g

Industry representative: Ellis Luckhurst

HDC project cost: £30,840

 

Project summary:

The evaluation of yield and quality of commercially available cultivars and new selections/cultivars of Autumn/Winter Cauliflower, Spring Cabbage and Pointed Cabbage cultivars grown in the major Brassica production areas of the UK.

 

Aims and objectives:

Project aims:

To compare and evaluate the seasonal performance of autumn/winter cauliflower and spring cabbage cultivars for yield, harvesting period and quality in order to provide up to date data for the industry. Comments on disease tolerance, shape, colour and suitability for various market outlets is also recorded. This will be presented via a regularly updated website and grower Open Day/Information Evening providing technical and crop management information.
http://www2.cornwall.ac.uk/research/herring/default.asp

Project objectives:

Autumn cultivars:
Heading late September through to early November. Spacing at 25,315/hectare (10,249/acre).

Winter cultivars:
Heading mid November through to end March
Comparing two transplanting dates: 1st and 3rd weeks of July
Comparing spacings of 19,760/hectare (8,000/acre) for the heading period November to end of January. 22,230/hectare (9000/acre) for the heading period of February onwards.
Confidential plots:
Cultivars maturing over the whole heading period (late October to late March) as requested by the seed companies. Spacing at 21,193/hectare (8580/acre) using replicated plots. Evaluation over several seasons to ensure suitability prior to commercial availability, and then progressing into the main demonstration plots and appropriate Trials.

Spring cabbage:
Transplanting date: Mid September
Harvest dates: mid-January and mid-March
Harvesting cultivars when 2-5 pieces make 250 g in weight (dependent on the season and rate of growth).

Link local meteorological data to results
Make available meteorological records recorded on data loggers alongside, the
cultural, and Trials results on the website.

 
Benefits to industry
 
Over 90% of all autumn/winter cauliflower and spring cabbage produced in the UK is now sold through the supermarkets as a programmed part of their 52-week supply. The industry’s predominant need is to maintain and grow this market. Varietal development is crucial to ensure that all home-grown produce continues to match the quality and consistency of imported produce with which it is in direct competition.
 
The autumn/winter cauliflower industry is currrently worth in the region of £35 million per annum; spring cabbage £6 million per annum. Over the past few seasons growers have used these results to plan and improve marketable yields and subsequent returns compared to previous cultivars available to them. This has enabled the industry to consolidate and increase the area planted to remain competitive. The information provided is used in all areas of the UK where winter Brassica crops are grown.
 
Any loss in competitiveness would damage the industry irreparably and displace production and associated jobs to the UK’s main competitors in France, Spain and Italy.
Consumers have come to expect a year-round supply of premium quality home-grown produce from the supermarkets. Given equivalent quality, and no price differential, consumers prefer home-grown produce over imported produce. Providing a consistent supply of Class1 home-grown autumn/winter cauliflower and spring cabbage is therefore essential to maintain the wider marketing position for UK vegetables in the supermarkets.