In 2020, BASF introduced a new variety for the high-wire spring crop without artificial lighting: UPstage. Now spring 2021 is over, it's time to share experiences with UPstage.
Wijnen Square Crops started trialing UPstage on location in 2019 and chose UPstage as their main variety for spring 2021. “The past two trial years saw different types of weather. Two years ago, the weather was sub-optimal, whereas last year the conditions were good. During those two years, UPstage consistently outperformed our main variety at that time. That's why we easily decided to switch over to this variety,” says cultivation manager Marcel Verdellen.
"UPstage's upright leaf position results in better and faster crop handling."
Evaluation of spring 2021
Verdellen evaluates this year's spring crop: “Comparing this year to previous years, we now see more healthy plants. UPstage is a stable variety that grows well and consistently – those are the traits you look for as a grower. When a variety grows as evenly as possible and is well-balanced, you can plan the corresponding labor accordingly. During the trials we conducted with UPstage in the previous years, we saw that the real gains came at the end of the season, as was the case this year as well. UPstage, which is now our main variety, performs well until the end of the season.”
In high wire cultivation, labor is a high-cost component. UPstage aims to help growers save on labor while providing plenty of vitality from start to finish. “We immediately noticed this variety's upright leaf position, which makes crop handling easier and faster. In addition, Upstage rarely suffers from split heads or double cucumbers in the axils. With other varieties, removing split heads and double cucumbers takes a lot of time that we can now save ourselves. We're happy that UPstage is not prone to these issues and therefore requires a lot less labor during cultivation.”
"Upstage rarely suffers from split heads and is vital until the end of the season."
Challenge for the future
Wijnen Square Crops and BASF will continue to work together and carry out trials on location. According to Verdellen, the challenge lies in the labor costs. “If we can save on labor by growing a labor-friendly variety, we gain a lot. We are already seeing this progress with UPstage and we need to continue that trend in the coming years.”
Rens Muusers, Cucumber Sales Specialist at BASF, is pleased with their collaboration with Verdellen. “The value of being able to conduct trials on location is a huge benefit to us as a company; it allows us to recognize and develop the good varieties much faster.” “Because we carry out the trials ourselves, we know for sure that the variety adapts well to our environment, and that’s an advantage for us,” adds Verdellen.
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Sales specialist North-West Europe