Cucurbit growers have a range of promising new courgette hybrids to try in the near future as several introductions to the market have performed well at this year's National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) trials.
A total of 18 different courgettes hybrids, including well-known and new varieties, have been grown at NIAB's fields in Cambridge this summer.
More than 30 people gathered around the crops on 20 August to view the trial's interim results. Bruce Napier, who manages the trial, revealed to the 30-strong group that three new introductions - Bejo 3043, Sanabria and Modena - from Bejo's UK distributor Elsoms Seeds had good results. He said: "Sanabria had very respectable yields - it's the one I would favour out of the three." Elsoms Seeds representative Andrew Vincent added: "Most of our southern European customers want full (virus) resistance so all of the material has got it (built in). New variety Bejo 3043 has got powdery mildew resistance, which is useful for UK growers."
Napier also pointed out that Allegria, another powdery mildew-resistant hybrid introduced to the market this year - this time by Clause UK - had the highest number of marketable fruits in the trial. Clause UK representative Jeroen Iprenburg told Grower that Allegria is an early-yielding variety and would be suited to the conditions of East Anglia,.
Meanwhile, visitors learned that another seen-for-the-first-time hybrid, Syngenta's Cassandra, also produced high yields. Napier said: "It was the highest yielding (hybrid) in the trial this year."
Napier added that all the varieties that are being trialled have a place on the market.
Courgette crop - 'Difficult start'
Grower David Murfitt of Oakley Farms in Wisbech told Grower that this year's courgette crop had "a difficult start." He said: "It was very dry during planting and cold and windy during April/May.
"The first week of June was also very windy. That made harvest a week or two later than we would have hoped.
"But the quality of the crop was ok. Now, the late crops are looking good, despite some viruses around in some fields."