Asparagus cultivation: losses kept within limits

Asparagus cultivation: losses kept within limits

"For one or two days we had a lower quality of the asparagus tips because of the cold", hirschaid grower hans ott recalls. But they have actually become accustomed to this, because "there is always something wrong with asparagus". Nevertheless, it has not often happened that since the beds were covered with foil, the root vegetables have suffered from the cool nights. About one-third to one-half of a day’s harvest was lost because of this.

After that, however, the sales were all the better and now everything is, so to speak, in the best of butter again. "Demand is not slowing down, says hans ott. By season’s end, he expects average harvest, maybe a little less. How much it will be? He cannot say that yet. But the decline in acreage in the bamberg region also plays a role here. Especially the owners of smaller plots often stopped growing asparagus with the change of generations – the next generation is working, has less time, and the asparagus "requires a lot of work". The coarse market also prefers coarser suppliers and has problems with many small ones. "Direct marketing only works as long as the parents are still doing it", woman of the hirschaider asparagus farmer.

A similar prognosis was made by gerhard reichels dorfer, asparagus expert at the agricultural and horticultural office in kitzingen. "We had a great start to the season with good results. Despite the film, there was a reduction in quality due to the cold snap, which resulted in losses for the growers". This is now compensated with the warm and humid weather, the season is not yet over and for one or two weeks they have a very good quality.

Despite occasional problems, reichelsdorfer sees the use of films as a "very good solution for growers. Fears that the quality could suffer from the covering of the beds were clearly refuted. He sees little point in covering the films with a "softener" to provide – that would not bring any additional benefit at higher costs.

Depending on the weather, asparagus growers in the bamberg – forchheim area harvest around 300 to 350 tons of the "royal vegetable" each season on around 50 hectares of cultivated land. Three weeks before the end of the season, reichelsdorfer estimates this year’s yield at around 300 tons – without realizing it. "For there are still about three weeks to go", a sure number will be known only afterwards.

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