The new millennium has arrived for asparagus when University of Guelph Plant Agriculture Professor Dave Wolyn created a new variety of asparagus called the Guelph Millennium. It’s an all-male hybrid — male asparagus typically yields up to 25 per cent more than female plants — that out-yields the standard variety by as much as 40 per cent. Millennium was first made commercially available in the winter of 1999; its seed stock sold out in months.
Today it is such a successful cultivar that the Ontario Asparagus Growers have set up their own seed company, Fox Seeds, to market Millennium around the globe. Fox is the name of the soil type in Norfolk County where the bulk of Ontario’s asparagus crop flourishes.
NOTE: The early stages of this research were conducted at the Cambridge Research Station, and the advanced stages were completed at the Simcoe Research Station. This research was sponsored by the Ontario Asparagus Growers Marketing Board, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the CanAdapt program (administered by the Ontario Agricultural Adaptation Council), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the National Research Council through the Industrial Research Assistance Program.