English asparagus growers could increase the season by using plastic covers and adapting technology from New Zealand, a conference heard.
However, the increase in investment could spell the end for smaller, less economical, businesses, warned grower John Chinn, of Cobrey Farms, at the event organised by the Asparagus Growers Association.
Low tunnels are being used by half a dozen producers, but New Zealand’s Aspire system measures the levels of soluble hydrocarbonate in the root structure which can maximise yield and forecast the life of the asparagus bed.
A longer season could boost yields by £300 to £500 per hectare per day as well as increase market share.
It will be at least two years before the NZ technology can be trialled in UK conditions.