Posted on

New AHDB strategic centre focuses on brassicas

New AHDB strategic centre focuses on brassicas - Scotland SC ESG 05062020 trial planting 3

Scotland SC ESG 05062020 trial planting 3 /// © East of Scotland Growers Ltd.


East of Scotland Growers (ESG) has joined AHDB’s Farm Excellence programme as the new Strategic Centre for Field Vegetable Crops – Brassicas in Scotland. A series of four trials will be conducted over the brassica-growing season at ESG’s fields in Balmullo, Fife. The grower-led trials will look at methods of preventing downy mildew in cauliflower and the impact of bio-stimulants on crop health and vigour. 

They will also explore herbicide screening pre- and post-planting, as well as the use of herbicides that have shown promise in AHDB’s SCEPTREplus trials. AHDB is working in partnership with farmer-owned cooperative East of Scotland Growers, which produces broccoli and cauliflower, and Kettle Produce, which grows Brussels sprouts and swedes, to carry out the trials. 

ADAS is the subcontractor in charge of the trials, which are being conducted by Oxford Agriculture Trials (OATS). NIAB is also a partner in the project. James Rome, agronomist at East of Scotland Growers, said: “We were keen to work with AHDB as we face different challenges in Scotland from other parts of the UK. We wanted to trial new approaches on our doorstep that can benefit local growers. The biggest trial we will be undertaking is for bio-stimulants. We need to adapt our conventional methods of growing to use these new products so we are less reliant on traditional chemistry. If we can produce a healthy plant from the start then we will have less problems with disease and pests.”

Drilling of swedes began on 1 June, with the first herbicides applied later that week. The planting of the other brassicas – broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts and collards/points – began on 5 June, with the first application of bio-stimulants due in the next two weeks.

The new Scottish Strategic Centre for Brassicas complements the current AHDB strategic centres for field vegetable crops, which conduct ‘core’ variety evaluation trials each year. Additional funding is available specifically for grower-led areas of work and the new centre is the result of such a grower-led initiative where specific problems that occur in Scotland can be addressed. 

Scotland is one of the UK’s three key brassica production regions, in addition to Lincolnshire and Cornwall, and growers in the country are an important supplier of broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and swedes. Over 90% of all autumn and winter cauliflower and spring cabbage produced in the UK is now sold through the supermarkets as a programmed part of their 52-week supply. 

Dr Dawn Teverson, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager for Horticulture, said: “Scotland’s distinct regional climate lends it to a summer production peak for flower-headed brassicas and overwintered brussels sprouts but also favours diseases such as downy mildew and light leaf spot, which are more minor issues in other regions. We are delighted to announce this new partnership and look forward to working together to overcome some of the unique challenges faced by our growers in Scotland.”

Posted on

UK Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference 2017

The UK Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference will be held on Wednesday, January 25, next year at the KingsGate Conference Centre in Peterborough.

The UK Brassica Growers’ Association and British Leafy Salad Association are once more joining together to hold a combined conference.

The UK Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference will be held on Wednesday, January 25, next year at the KingsGate Conference Centre in Peterborough.
The conference is sponsored by Bayer and further details will be available soon at

To secure a place, register online here.

Brassica Growers Association

The Brassica Growers’ Association is the crop association representing growers of all brassica type crops including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, swede/turnips and kale. This sector of the fresh produce industry is worth over £650 million in the UK and the association represents more than 80% of its growers.

British Leafy Salad Association

The British Leafy Salads Association is made up of salad growers and packers and has the primary aim of increasing UK consumption of leafy salads.

The association ensures its members are kept informed of market trends and advises them on a number of issues from legal and technical through to current industry advances and best practice.


Posted on

Hopes sweeter variety will boost wilting cabbage sales in UK

A sweeter variety of homegrown cabbage is being trialled by Tesco.

A sweeter variety of homegrown cabbage is being trialled by Tesco.

The UK retailer said the cabbage – known as Sweet Summer Cabbage – is grown in Lincolnshire and was “naturally developed to re-generate interest in the vegetable.”

In a press release, Tesco said it has a light, sweeter and fresher taste than other cabbage varieties and is ideal for people who like making their own salads and coleslaw.

Tesco vegetable buyer Luke Shutler explains: “In recent years many greens have not only shed their ‘difficult’ image but have been re-appraised as superfoods because of their great nutritional value.

Broccoli was the first about 10 years ago but more recently, thanks to foodie culture and a greater awareness of what we eat, we have seen other greens such as spinach and even sprouts become more popular.

“Unfortunately that has not happened with cabbage, yet, and we think that demand is being held back because of a poor image that goes back to memories of school dinners and cabbage that was boiled to within an inch of its life.

“We have worked with TJ Clements, one of the UK’s biggest brassica producers, to come up with this sweet green variety that we believe will not only be a hit with children but with adults too.

“Regular varieties of cabbage have a slightly peppery, almost bitter flavour but the sweetness of the Summer Sweet can be tasted as soon as you take your first bite. “We are trialling it this summer and if demand is strong then we will have more next year.” Tesco said the cabbages will be sold in 250 stores.

Sweet Summer Cabbage - Edited.jpg

Cabbage sales down 6% in the UK

Tesco said Kantar data for the UK retail market shows demand for cabbage has fallen 6% in the last two years.

It said cabbage sales in Britain were at their highest in the 1950s when the vegetable was a seen as a relatively inexpensive way of eating nutritious food. But as Britain became more prosperous, the ‘meat and two veg diet’ began falling by the wayside and, with the introduction and influences of other cuisines and fast food culture, over the years there has been  has been a downturn in demand for cabbage.

A the time of publication, Summer Sweet Cabbage cost £1 each, compared to £0.45 for Tesco Everyday Value cabbage, £0.49 for Tesco Everyday Sweetheart cabbage, £0.52 for Tesco red cabbage, £0.55 for Tesco white cabbage, £0.80 for Tesco savoy cabbage and  £1.30 for Tesco organic seasonal cabbage, according to


source: Tesco press release “Sweet Summer Cabbage launched to help image of ‘unloved’ green”