Weather data helps select ideal flowering brassica varieties for different growing regions

John Innes Centre and weather forecasting service Weatherquest are collaborating on a project to relate weather patterns to maturing of field vegetables.

Jim Bacon - image:Weatherquest
Jim Bacon - image:Weatherquest

Data from Weatherquest is currently being used by Judith Irwin, researcher in crop genetics at the John Innes Centre, in a research project aimed at improving resilience within production  horticulture.

The main focus of the research is helping crops adapt to climate change, but the science can help build resistance to temperature variations too.

Weatherquest managing director Jim Bacon said: "Flowering brassicas such as cauliflower and broccoli require vernalization to trigger the flowering mechanism.  This varies between species and by examining the temperatures required by different varieties to vernalize, you can select those that need different periods of cold to flower."

Mean winter temperatures from 1961 to 2006 show that Cornwall on average enjoys winter temperatures 2°C higher than Lincolnshire - information which can be used to prolong the flowering period by selecting varieties that vernalize at different temperatures, he explained.


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