An examination of the practical and financial potential for growing small scale asparagus organically at 2 locations in South Wales
Asparagus has good potential in Wales as it’s a high value crop which is a good draw for farm gate sales. The crop falls into the hungry gap period from the end of April to the end of June when few other crops are available in the UK. The crop benefits from freshness and short supply chain markets that supermarkets are generally unable to compete with. While there is a great demand for asparagus, the high establishment costs and long period before first harvest can make growing the crop unattractive to small scale growers.
The aim of this project was to monitor outputs and benchmark organic asparagus growing from establishment through to first harvest on two farms in Monmouthshire at a field scale. The hope was to gain understanding of the practical and financial requirements of growing the crop, and provide useful information for the wider sector.
- Asparagus can be grown successfully under organic management.
- Asparagus is marketed easily and can command a good premium if sold direct and locally.
- Having sufficient skilled labour can be an issue at peak times, and should be considered a major cost to the enterprise.
- Apart from labour, other costs were negligible post planting and it is the low input costs which have resulted in the apparent good margins for the farms.