Peter G. Falloon, A.S. Nikoloff, A.J. Conner
Asparagus production in New Zealand is based on a range of cultivars bred in the northern hemisphere. Low yields, poor quality, inadequate seed supplies or diseased seed of these cultivars have adversely affected the industry's ability to respond to the changing needs of export and domestic markets. Asparagus research at Crop Research Division began in 1968. Several hybrids have been identified that produce higher yields of better quality spears than the best cultivars available from overseas. Recently developed in vitro techniques for virus elimination and Agrobacterium-mediated transformation will enable production of virus free, herbicide resistant seed of these hybrids in 4 to 5 years.

Identification of 68 supermales has provided a firm basis for developing all-male hybrid cultivars while improved micropropagation techniques are being used to establish trials of the highest yielding cloned plants selected from throughout New Zealand. Disease resistance screening procedures have been developed for Stemphylium leaf spot and purple spot and Phytophthora rot. Lines resistant or tolerant to these diseases should be available in 10 to 15 years.

Falloon, Peter G., Nikoloff, A.S. and Conner, A.J. (1989). ASPARAGUS BREEDING - A RESPONSE TO INDUSTRY NEEDS. Acta Hortic. 247, 85-98
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1989.247.14

Acta Horticulturae