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Researchers release new variety of asparagus

UC Riverside researchers have released a new variety of asparagus that offers a higher yield than previous varieties of the vegetable and boasts an excellent spear quality, marked by a high percentage of marketable spears. Higher yield of marketable spears reduces the impact of high land and labor costs, thereby making the asparagus more profitable without raising consumer prices.

Named "DePaoli" after William P. DePaoli, the first manager of the California Asparagus Commission who long supported the asparagus breeding program in the state, the superior hybrid marks the third time that UCR has released a new variety of the vegetable, the most recent being 1982.

"Particularly now, the asparagus industry in this country needs new varieties of the vegetable ?varieties that can compete with those produced in other countries where labor cost is low, such as Peru and Mexico," said Mikeal Roose, a professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences and the leader of the asparagus breeding project. "Indeed, Neil Stone, a staff research associate at UCR, and I are working on other promising hybrids that are in trial at the moment, some of which may have even better yields than DePaoli."

Currently, UCR is cultivating the DePaoli variety in a field near campus. The first test of the new variety, which involves evaluation of yield, spear quality, and other traits, was started in 1990. A full harvest of DePaoli was obtained three years after planting. To ensure that the new variety was not susceptible to disease, it was then harvested for a few additional years.

"DePaoli has gone through at least a dozen trials, but we need to keep the trials going for a while longer because it may be affected by weather or diseases that only occur occasionally," Roose said. "It will take several years before significant
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Source:University of California - Riverside


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