Asparagus - University of Guelph
The University of Guelph is based in Ontario, Canada. Its asparagus breeding program was initiated in 1979 to develop all-male hybrids adapted to cold growing conditions. Multi-location trials of promising hybrids have identified several high yielding, quality lines.
Hargreaves Plants is the exclusive representative of this breeding program in Greater Europe, as well as China, Peru, Chile, Thailand, Kenya..........
The breeding program at the University of Guelph is the world's most northerly for asparagus. Although, surprisingly versatile south, its varieties are unrivalled in colder areas.
- Simply the best spear quality of any named variety in our trials
- Significantly better yields than main competitors
- Low harvest costs based on improved daily spear yields
- Adapted to cool climates
- Has performed well in a range of soils
- Proven longevity
- Male Hybrid
Performance of Guelph Millennium
Guelph Millennium is Hargreaves Plants' most popular cultivar. This is based on superior yields of high quality spears, minimising waste and maximising profit.
From a standing start, in the first four years of its' commercial life, Guelph Millennium took a 5% market share in the UK. This was limited by seed availability but not by peformance. To give some perspective, in 2009 it accounted for circa 40% of Hargreaves Plants' overall crown sales. The variety is now maturing on a number of grower farms and enquiries mean that much greater areas will be planted by 2012.
UK experience shows the variety to have an equivalent production season to that of Backlim. However, its vigour and head quality under hot conditions have been the main reasons why this variety is significantly superior. So much so, that leading produce retailers are expected to 'de-list' Backlim as soon as possible.
Trial results in North America have shown Millennium to out-yield its main green competitors by as much as 100% over a consistently long time period. Its all male nature means that its longevity is unquestioned. At the highly renowned and well respected Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Guelph Millennium took the prestigious 'Seed of the Year' award ahead of some very tough competition. This prize was not only competed for by the asparagus industry, but by the national seed sector en masse.
Guelph Millennium is planted in China as part of the 3rd International Asparagus Cultivar Trials. Results to date make Millennium the best performing named variety in the whole trial. The major asparagus disease in China is Stem Blight and Guelph Millennium also scores best in resistance to this problem.
For more details on Guelph Millennium, a technical brochure can be downloaded (see link above).
What is so good about Millennium?
In a word - VIGOUR. In each of the UK trial locations, Guelph Millennium has shown super vigour; significantly, it has been a league ahead of all the control varieties. Vigour is maintained through spear harvest and into fern production. Its best result to date was achieved during the cool, damp start and hot finish to the 2005 season.
Since Guelph Millennium, Hargreaves Plants has now established trials of 20 new hybrids. The common theme amongst these new lines is superb spear quality. One selection, with a marketable yield improvement over Gijnlim of circa 25%, has been chosen for fast-tracked seed production, while the new range is showing great potential for the medium to long term.