New treatments are being tested by the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to help reduce the number of cabbages lost in storage from diseases caused by extreme wet weather.
It is estimated that up to 50% of the harvested crop can be lost on a bad year, valued at £4.5 million.
The aim of the trial is to find alternative storage treatments to prevent disease, and the results will be shared with the brassica-growers industry in summer 2021.
James Rome, agronomist at East of Scotland Growers, said: “In a wet harvest year like 2019, wastage levels can be in excess of 50% amongst long-term stored white cabbage due to Botrytis and Phytophthora", adding that the trials "are essential to the long term economic success of this crop in the UK.”
The trials are taking place in Lincolnshire, and ten different treatments are being tested. The crop went into storage in late November and will be assessed in April/May 2021.
Simon Jackson, Specialist Agronomist at the Allium & Brassica Centre, who is leading the trials, said the loss of certain compounds in the vegetables "proved devastating to the UK storage cabbage industry last season".
Jackson is optimistic that previous research undertaken by AHDB's SPECTREplus programme, which supports the approval of sustainable plant protection products and develops integrated pest management programmes for key pest, weeds, and diseases on horticultural crops, can lead to a new post-harvest treatment being approved in time for autumn 2021.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.