May 14, 2018
University of Guelph’s new asparagus hybrids survive tough season

Canadian-bred asparagus hybrids are showing good resistance to an unseasonably warm May in Northern Europe.

Guelph Eclipse and Guelph Equinox, the newest commercial asparagus hybrids to be bred at the University of Guelph in Canada and represented in Europe by Global Plant Genetics. The new varieties are demonstrating their superior characteristics in a challenging harvest season this year.

The recent heatwave that swept across the North of Europe put pressure on asparagus spear quality in May that was without precedent. Record temperatures increased the rate of growth of the asparagus spears, meaning that the traditional varieties were more susceptible to open heads, a symptom of a “class-two product,” according to a news release from Global Plant Genetics. These new hybrids, however, were able to resist against the conditions and still produce superb quality, fully marketable asparagus spears.

“The Guelph Eclipse and Guelph Equinox asparagus varieties form part of a new generation of hybrids that have improved spear qualities coupled with increased yields over previously standard types for green asparagus production in Northern Europe,” said Jamie Petchell of Global Plant Genetics. “We have been working on trials of both for a number of years and it is great to see truly excellent performance on a commercial scale these days.

“Both types are early to harvest and combine well with the previous release from the program, Guelph Millennium, to form an extended harvest period of top quality product for growers, retailers and consumers alike.”

Global Plant Genetics is responsible for the seed distribution of the Guelph asparagus hybrids across Europe and has once more seen sales increase this season. For more information, growers, nurseries and produce businesses are invited to visit the company’s asparagus website.

Above: Jamie Petchell with Guelph Eclipse asparagus spears in May 2018. Photo: Global Plant Genetics 


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