06 February 2022
Research on Fusarium
This is how the cutting and testing of fusarium samples works
Your asparagus crowns. One of the most important choices that you make. Therefore make an informed decision. You can do this by buying asparagus crowns that are at a lower risk of fusarium as they have been grown in good soil. Seven asparagus crown growers carry out an above-average amount of research into this through the Select Plant quality-plus system. For example, three fusarium samples of 60 individual samples per hectare are taken. But exactly how does that work? John Beeren from Beeren Plantproducts, one of the seven asparagus crown growers qualified to offer Select Plant, says:
“During the October to February period, fusarium inspections take place at the seven Select Plant growers on around 230 hectares of land. These inspections are always performed by (or under the independent watchful eye of) Naktuinbouw (the Netherlands Inspection Service for Horticulture). The Naktuinbouw inspector also produces a map showing the layout of the plot. Soil samples are taken from plots where we wish to grow crowns. This results in around 700 samples of soil being tested in the Naktuinbouw laboratory. In the laboratory, the content of every sample bag is mixed properly and divided between five plant pots. Five seeds are sown in each pot. These seeds are then cultivated in a climate chamber until they reach the height of approximately twenty centimetres. That takes around six weeks and the researchers can then visually inspect the young plants for fusarium. If there are any doubts about the scores, the plots are declared unfit. The process from sampling to the result takes eight weeks. As you can imagine, Naktuinbouw must plan that process carefully with the seven growers who jointly provide more than seven hundred samples and all of them want to start in April,” laughs John.
Acreage growth reduces availability and increases risk
According to John, finding and selecting the right land is an increasingly challenging process. “We rigorously apply the standard that we only grow asparagus crowns on plots where no asparagus has been grown in the previous seven years. With an annual acreage growth of 4 - 5 percent, you can see that it is increasingly difficult to find good land. This also applies, of course, to the asparagus growers. Decreased land availability increases the risk of fusarium. This is one reason to choose Select Plant, but also definitely for your own land to undergo (more intensive) sampling. As Select Plant growers, asparagus growers can also arrange this through us. Quite simply, it is essential to lay a healthy foundation which is why, as a cooperative, we go beyond that,” John concludes.
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