Study shows how to double Brussels sprout yield

Growers of Brussels sprouts could double yields by selecting varieties less susceptible to turnip yellows virus infection.

Brussels sprout growers could double their yields by growing varieties that are less susceptible to turnip yellows virus (TuYV), new research has revealed.

TuYV is transmitted by aphids and affects a wide range of brassica crops. Previous research showed that the virus could reduce cabbage yields by 16-36 per cent, depending on the variety.

Little, however, was known about the effect it had on other brassicas until the work was undertaken by the Horticultural Development Company (HDC).

The project, carried out by The University of Warwick, found that cauliflower and Brussels sprout crops in the 2010-11 season had high incidences of TuYV despite the fact that there were low levels of aphids that year.

Up to 60 per cent of cauliflower crops and 55 per cent of Brussels sprout crops were infected with the virus.

Yields of Brussels sprouts were significantly reduced, even though controlled experiments showed that TuYV caused few visible symptoms in the Brussels sprout or cauliflower plants.

This means that because the symptoms are not obvious, growers may be unaware crops are being affected.

The project also showed variation between the susceptibility of Brussels sprout varieties to TuYV.

Speedia was the least susceptible and achieved double the marketable yield of virus-infected plants of two other varieties - and almost three times the yield of another variety.

But even the highest-yielding Brussels sprout variety had its yield reduced by 30 per cent by TuYV.

Andy Richardson of the Allium & Brassica Centre said: "This groundbreaking research has shown that TuYV can have a significant effect on commercial brassica yields, despite the lack of symptoms on plants.

"Further research is underway to determine the best approach to inhibit or reduce TuYV infections."

Turnip yellows virus Future research

In future, the Horticultural Development Company will investigate the timing of turnip yellows virus infection of Brussels sprouts and winter cauliflower and the efficacy of a range of insecticidal treatments.

In the meantime, growers are able to use varieties that are less susceptible to the virus.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Has vertical farming passed a peak on the 'hype cycle'?

Has vertical farming passed a peak on the 'hype cycle'?

Several senior industry figures sounded a note of caution on the potential of urban farms at last week's GreenTech international trade show in Amsterdam (12-14 June).

How can growers benefit by supporting agroforestry?

How can growers benefit by supporting agroforestry?

Agroforestry has the potential to deliver on a range of policy objectives in England, according to a new report from the Woodland Trust and the Soil Association.

How should perceived shortcomings in Defra's farming policy plans be addressed?

How should perceived shortcomings in Defra's farming policy plans be addressed?

The Government needs to provide much more detail on its post-Brexit farming policy if its twin aims of increasing farm competitiveness and enhancing the environment are to be met, according to a new report published this week by the parliamentary Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Horticulture Week Top UK FRUIT PRODUCERS

See our exclusive ranking of fruit producers by annual turnover. 

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon