Elsoms Seeds, the UK’s leading independent plant breeder, seed supplier and seed treatment specialist, has developed a new late maturing F1 hybrid parsnip variety, Pearl, that significantly extends the UK parsnip season. Pearl, combined with other varieties in the Elsoms’ parsnip portfolio, offers growers the opportunity to meet demand for fresh parsnips for almost the full 12 months from the end of June through to early June the following year.
Pearl’s value as a late crop variety with a good level of disease resistance, high degree of uniformity and attractive root weight distribution means it is becoming increasingly popular with growers. Its pearly white colour, so frequently specified in the retail sector, is also driving this increase in sales. However, it is the outstanding field storage performance of Pearl over the last four years that has really set the standard in the late harvest period from April to early June, effectively lengthening UK availability of fresh parsnips.
The Elsoms’ parsnip portfolio also carries another five strong varieties that have delivered exceptional trials and harvest results over the last five years. In particular, Panorama, a vigorous, high yielding maincrop parsnip with excellent disease resistance, is very much in demand in the UK with over five years of repeatedly impressive yields. Its flexibility, vigour, great root shape, smooth skin and white colour are the features that make it so desirable, as well as a good weight distribution throughout the root.
Pearl and Panorama are just two of the varieties bred by Elsoms’ successful R&D vegetable breeding programme. Parsnips have been a primary focus of the programme for many years and both Panorama and Pearl have proved their reliability with consistently good results.
Sue Kennedy, Head of Plant Breeding at Elsoms, said “Parsnips are an Elsoms speciality. The extent and longevity of our parsnip breeding programmes means we’re not restricted by a limited gene pool and we have many exciting varieties coming through over the next few years that are currently being trialled. Pearl and Panorama came out of a group of eight quality crosses which were the result of ten years of breeding and selection for quality and disease resistance followed by a further four years of commercial trials with UK growers. We’re thrilled they are gaining in popularity, with persistently good results since their entry into the market four and five years ago respectively.”
Ian Holmes, Company Agronomist at Strawson Ltd, commented: “We’ve grown Panorama with good success in the last couple of years. It is a very versatile variety, with a relatively long sowing season leading to an extended period of use throughout the autumn. The quality, colour and disease resistance has been favourable this year with good yields. Pearl has shown good promise for late season harvesting, being slower growing and storing well in the soil. It’s a very good colour and produces good pre-pack size roots. I particularly like the root shape of both varieties, carrying weight further down the root and creating a more cylindrical shape. We intend to continue to develop with both varieties next year.”
All Elsoms’ parsnip seed is sold primed as standard with further product forms available, including pelleting and film coating. Priming controls the hydration level within the seed, bringing it forward through the germination process prior to sowing, thereby increasing the speed of emergence once hydration levels increase in the field. This faster seedling emergence has a number of benefits, the most important being an improved stand uniformity that helps with production management and a much higher probability of uniformity at harvest.
With the majority of UK parsnip growers also growing carrots, Elsoms’ position as the UK carrot seed market leader with the acclaimed range of Bejo varieties, means that it already has a unique understanding of root crop growers’ requirements. The company has an outstanding record of customer service; a recent customer survey revealed that 100% of respondents from the top 240 customers would recommend Elsoms to a colleague and rated Elsoms’ seed as “excellent” or “good”.