Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

News Production Vegetables
Newly updated crop profiles: allium, brassica vegetables, sweet corn


September 16, 2020
By Fruit and Vegetable

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Newly updated crop profiles for Allium vegetables, Brassica vegetables and sweet corn are available to download for free from the Government of Canada Publications web site or through the Crop profiles webpage.

Crop profiles are documents that provide a high level overview of production and a more detailed look at pest management practices for a variety of agricultural crops in Canada.

Allium vegetables

In Canada, several Allium vegetables are produced commercially including dry onion, green onion, shallots, leeks, garlic and chives. In 2015, a total of 7,466 hectares of Allium crops were planted, approximately six per cent of the total area planted to vegetable crops in Canada.

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The majority of alliums produced in Canada are sold domestically in the fresh market. Those that are exported are mostly dry onions, of which the vast majority goes to the United States. Some onions are processed into a variety of products, such as sauces, pickles, soups and other convenience foods.

Ontario and Quebec were the main provinces of production comprising 81 per cent of the national acreage. Chart from the newly updated Government of Canada’s Crop Profile on Allium vegetables.

Brassica vegetables

Brassica vegetables, also known as cole crops, belong to the Brassicaceae family, commonly known as the cabbage or mustard family. This crop profile covers the brassica vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale with detailed information on cabbage and broccoli.

Brassica vegetables are important fresh and processing crops. Cabbage is grown for the fresh market and is processed into sauerkraut and coleslaw. Cabbage also has potential for other specialty markets for the various types including red and savoy.

Broccoli is grown for fresh and frozen markets, with the majority going to the fresh market. There are two main types of broccoli, the most common being sprouting/Italian broccoli and the other heading broccoli.

Cauliflower is consumed fresh or cooked. There are numerous varieties with curds that differ in colour including white, orange, green and purple. Brussels sprouts are enlarged buds that grow along the stalk and are consumed as fresh or cooked vegetables.

More recently, kale production and consumption of fresh and processed kale (e.g., chips, health drinks) has increased.

Sweet corn

Today, field corn is mainly used as animal feed or for industrial uses while traditional sweet corn varieties, and those with higher sugar content, are used for human consumption.

Harvested sweet corn is purchased by consumers in four markets: fresh, baby corn (often frozen), frozen and canned. While sweet corn is commonly available in late summer and early fall as a fresh product the majority of production is used for processing as a frozen or canned product. Baby corn, which is hand harvested two days after the silks appear, makes up a small portion of sweet corn sales. Sweet corn is also made into breakfast cereals, breads, snack foods and corn syrup and can be used to make bourbon or whisky.

Sweet corn is one of the major field grown vegetable crops in Canada, with a farm gate value of $76.2 million and 187, 819 metric tonnes produced in 2018. Sweet corn is grown in all provinces and in 2018 with 17,551 ha planted, it was the most extensively planted vegetable in Canada.

This kind of industry information is available within the crop profiles. Crop profiles also reflect pest occurrence along with grower concerns about pest management for the crop profiled, and are updated on a three year rotating schedule. They are not crop production guides, and growers are encouraged to consult provincial crop production guides for recommendations about pest management in their regions.

Thirty-two Crop Profiles covering 38 crops created and maintained by the Pesticide Risk Reduction team are accessible for download on the Government of Canada Publications web site.