High costs make high-wire cucumber crops uneconomic option for next year

High production costs, particularly of labour, are likely to prevent growers from taking advantage of the better yields and fruit quality promised by high-wire cucumber crops, an HDC research project backed by the Cucumber Growers' Association (CGA) has found.

"High wire is a good concept and will be the way to grow in future," technical consultant Derek Hargreaves told the CGA conference. "But don't try it for next year unless you are certain it will be a great summer." Hargreaves said that the high-wire crop in the project - undertaken in two near-identical commercial glasshouse blocks - had achieved almost 20 sticks per square metre more than the conventional cordon crop at one point, and quality was better. "But the extra income was never enough to cover the extra costs," he said.

Much of the additional labour cost was associated with crop training - despite use of the Qlipper system, which Hargreaves described as the best currently available - and de-leafing.

The project had shown that it is difficult to keep a high-wire crop in balance without supplementary lights, he said. "Crop vigour was either too strong or not strong enough. We looked at four varieties and all were found wanting - we need breeders to come up with varieties suited to the system."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

This spring, many top-fruit growers in the UK and across Europe were dismayed to discover that swathes of their orchards had been hit by frost.

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

Upcoming reforms to water abstraction licensing will for the first time cap the amount of water that fruit growers can take for trickle irrigation.