Asparagus Growers Association (AGA) adviser Adrian Barlow told Grower that while increased investment in the crop by growers and an effective promotional campaign helped to boost sales of British-grown asparagus by 22% this year (Grower, 13 August), the actual returns to growers did not fair as well.
This was because most growers had to stop cutting early but were still faced with the same overhead costs. Barlow said: "The very cold weather at the start of the season meant that the crop was very slow in developing.
"We would usually have had large quantities for sale at the end of April and beginning of May, but that did not happen. It was the third week of May before we had significant volumes but growers have to stop cutting around 20 June.
"If they were to continue to do so it would be at the expense of next year's crop. So that did result in production losses - the amount we were able to sell this year was lower than expected. So that has affected growers' turnover.
"They may not have had the usual harvest costs but their overheads still had to be covered so it was not a great season for growers in terms of overall returns. We hope next season that we will see an improvement."