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Asparagus Asparagus officinalis

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					Asparagus
                                                                    Asparagus officinalis (Liliaceae)


Fast Facts:
                 Acres in Washington: 8,000 in 2010
                 Percent of U.S. Acreage: 27%
                 Per Acre Value: $2,800
                 Number of Growers: 120 in 2010
                 Value of Production in Washington: $25 million in 2009
                 Percent of U.S. Production: 28.7%


              Asparagus is the 32nd most valuable commodity in the state

Description
of crop:
       Asparagus is a perennial crop. The underground portion of the plant consists of crowns that
       produce edible stems each spring. Young crowns are grown from seed planted in beds and
       transplanted the following year in to a field. Asparagus beds with good care will produce for
       over 20 years; however 12 to 14 years is typical. The stems, or spears, are harvested at 7 to 9
       inches in length. Harvest begins in April and lasts 60 to 80 days. Asparagus is harvested
       daily by hand. After harvest is over, the spears are allowed to grow in to fern. The fern stage
       produces the nourishment for the crown that will result in the next year’s crop. Most insect
       and disease problems occur during the fern stage. Approximately 90% of Washington’s
       asparagus is produced for the fresh market with the remaining amounts going into frozen or
       pickled products. Asparagus is one of the most labor intensive crops in the state with
       between 50% and 70% of all costs going to labor.

Key pests:
      The primary insect pest is European asparagus aphid. Control of this insect is required for
      successful production of asparagus. Other arthropod pests are the 12-spotted asparagus
      beetle, common asparagus beetle, green peach aphid, spotted cutworm, redbacked cutworm,
      the asparagus miner and garden symphylan. Cutworms attack the spears during harvest. The
      spotted asparagus beetle causes damage by laying eggs and feeding on the spear. Both beetle
      species, asparagus miner and the European asparagus aphids are pests of the fern stage.
      Control against aphids and or spotted asparagus beetle are required in most fields every year.
      During harvest, in the first and last few years of production, asparagus is a poor competitor
      with weeds. The most challenging weed species in asparagus are Canada thistle, field
      bindweed, puncturevine and common groundsel. Other important weeds are Russian thistle,
      kochia, lambsquarter, redroot pigweed, yellow nutsedge, quackgrass and barnyardgrass.
      Numerous other weed species are pests in asparagus. The primary disease of asparagus is
      fusarium crown and root rot. This disease plays a role in the decline of virtually every
      asparagus field. Other important fungal diseases are asparagus rust and purple spot or
      stemphyllium. Viral diseases include asparagus virus 1, asparagus virus 2 and tobacco
      mosaic virus.
       There is interested in expanding the organic portion of the asparagus in Washington is
       currently very small. Inability to control EAA and the expense of controlling weeds severely
       limits the production of organic asparagus.


Key pesticides:
      Aphids are primarily controlled by disulfoton and occasionally with dimethoate. Beetles and
      cutworms are controlled by carbaryl, Lorsban and Pounce. No effective means are known
      for asparagus miner and garden symphylan. The most commonly used herbicides are Sencor,
      diuron, glyphosate, trifluralin, Sandea and Poast. The primary fungicide used on Washington
      asparagus is mancozeb.



Critical pest
control issues:
       Di-Syston is being removed from the market, finding a replacement for the product is a
       critical goal for the asparagus industry. Growers are in need of controls for puncturevine
       and field bindweed.



Expert contacts:     Dr. Alan Schreiber, PhD.
                     Washington Asparagus Commission
                     2621 Ringold Rd.
                     Eltopia, WA 99330
                     509 266 4348
                     aschreib@centurytel.net

				
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posted:12/18/2011
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