This project is evaluating the yield and quality of commercially available cultivars and new selections/cultivars of autumn/winter cauliflower, spring cabbage and pointed cabbage grown in the UK's major production areas. In an industry where cauliflower and spring cabbage are worth more than £41m, growers are using the Duchy College research to plan and improve marketable yields and returns.
Duchy College lecturer and brassica expert Bill Herring is conducting this research. "More than 90 per cent of all autumn/winter cauliflower and spring cabbage produced in the UK is now sold through the supermarkets as a programmed part of their 52-week supply. The industry's predominant need is to maintain and grow this market. Development of new varieties is crucial to ensure that all home-grown produce continues to match the quality and consistency of imports."
The introduction of new autumn and winter cauliflower cultivars has again increased grade 1 marketable product, many yielding more than 10 per cent above standard cultivars, which means that potential income can be increased by £890/ha. This is a real possibility with many producers now on a fixed price for their produce.
Grower David Thomas from PE Simmons & Son said: "With all of the varieties in one spot it's such a great way to see good and bad, especially disease resistance. Bill's recording is meticulous and so accurate. I've been coming here since it started and rarely ever miss an open day." Open days were held in December 2014 and January and March 2015, with up-to-date information available.
The trials are harvested twice a week and results are updated weekly online at http://www2.cornwall.ac.uk/research/herring/default.asp. The 2015 annual report is now available on the AHDB Horticulture website.
For details on all AHDB Horticulture activity, see horticulture.ahdb.org.uk.