The New Zealand Market Development team has been busy with extensive trialling of new brassica varieties. With a focus on the adaptability of High-Rise™ types given the early success of Titanium, there are new prospects that could lead to a year-round raised head portfolio and build grower confidence in machine harvesting.
The brassica trialling strategy involved 15 varieties, all screened in the Pukekohe area with results used to estimate slots in other growing regions. Varieties performing well at screening trials were then advanced to tray trials and from there, to demand generation trials. Out of the 15 varieties, 8 were dropped and 5 held for further screening and two being advanced further.
Variety Lieutenant has advanced to tray trials given its very good results over the summer and larger scale trials will begin this year. If it continues to perform well, Lieutenant will fill a gap in the NZ portfolio in the summer slot.
Eiffel, has been advanced to demand generation trials and are sowing now, given its consistent results in the October to mid-December window.
Both varieties will complement commercial variety Titanium, which has performed well between July and mid-October. Titanium is the focus of a sustained marketing effort on the benefits of High-Rise broccoli, including labour savings at harvest.
The three varieties, if all goes well, will result in covering half of the year with a raised head program and may give growers confidence to invest in machine harvesting.