Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
Computers help manage asparagus harvest


April 28, 2008
By Marg Land


Topics

Apr. 28, 2008 – Researchers in the
Netherlands are working on a computer program that can advise growers
on the best possible moment to stop harvesting asparagus.

Apr. 28, 2008 – Researchers in the Netherlands are working on a computer program that can advise growers on the best possible moment to stop harvesting asparagus.

Asparagus plants that retain sufficient sugars in their roots after harvesting survive the harvest better and are more productive in the next season. By contrast, when asparagus plants are cut too long, the sugar level is depleted and the quality declines.

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In light of this, researchers at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands are working on a computer program that can advise growers on the best possible moment to stop harvesting asparagus.

They have joined forces with researchers from the Geisenheim Research Station in Germany to develop a computer program that will assist asparagus growers in determining the precise moment to stop cutting. Using the system, growers regularly measure the sugar level of the roots with a simple device. Based on the results, the computer program – called Aspire – gives advice on when to stop cutting asparagus.

Aspire is being tested on 10 Dutch asparagus farms during the 2008 season. Researchers hope the pilot will offer sufficient results to move to widespread use for the 2009 season.