Choosing the right variety is particularly important in the cultivation of asparagus, where characteristics such as quality and yield play a key role in production. It is a long term decision as the chosen variety will be in the field for several years.

With a broad assortment of varieties available, growers are presented with options tailored to different segments and climatic conditions. Bejo, a Dutch company renowned for its expertise in breeding vegetable seeds, has made significant steps in developing varieties suited for all segments of asparagus cultivation.  

Specializing in breeding vegetable seeds for decades, Bejo’s focus on crops like brassica, carrot and onion has extended in time. Over the past two decades, Bejo has dedicated efforts in asparagus breeding as well. 

Varieties from the Bejo kitchen 
Bejo has a large assortment in asparagus varieties: for all areas, cold and intermediate, all colours, green, white, purple, and all maturities from early to late. So for every purpose a variety to choose from. 

Gerhard Völkel, Bejo’s area crop manager, is delighted with the range of varieties. “All Bejo asparagus varieties have smooth spears with perfectly closed heads, specific characteristics for asparagus from the “Bejo kitchen”. Furthermore, the varieties are uniform.”  

Bart Arends, asparagus breeder at Bejo, is actively involved in the development. He explains the main goals when breeding a new variety: “Focus is on quality of the product, and the percentage of class 1 spears is important as well. Same goes for the closure of the heads; a variety should also be less sensitive to cracking and it should be robust.” Also the good taste and its strength against rust, pink discoloration and foliar diseases are good characteristics of our asparagus varieties. 

Trial fields 
Before introducing a new variety, Bejo conducts extensive trials over eight years in various Western European countries. These trials, conducted both on Bejo's own fields and at grower sites, ensure that the variety meets stringent criteria for performance and adaptability. 

This long trial period means that Bejo can offer growers a good variety for the next season and the seasons after that. And that is valuable, according to Völkel: “We keep in mind to breed varieties in all colours suitable for markets like Germany/the Netherlands, but also for countries with other climatic conditions like France, Italy, Spain and the US, as well as for Central and Southern American regions. The thickness of the varieties is important for market segments such as processing, fresh market and catering. The overall quality of the asparagus is very important. We focus on taste as well, with an expert group and a consumer panel doing tests on a regular basis. In order to supply the market with excellent tasting varieties. Good quality and taste is always better paid for! 

Ultimately, Bejo's dedication to breeding high-quality asparagus varieties reflects its commitment to providing growers with reliable options tailored to their specific needs and environments. Through meticulous selection and rigorous testing, Bejo continues to innovate in the realm of asparagus breeding, contributing to the success of growers worldwide.