Choosing a Butternut Variety

Vegetable Production

Choice is everything

Factors to consider

There are currently many varieties on offer for the South African producer to choose from. Growers base their choice on the specifications of the end user, which could be for export, chopping and dicing, or whole, etc. Shape, disease resistance, yield and weight are also factors which the grower must consider when choosing a suitable variety for the market he wants to produce for.

The added challenge for suppliers worldwide is to produce seed to mobilize it on time to distribute this seed to countries across the globe. Since the onset of the global Covid 19 pandemic, this has been extremely difficult with seeds often getting bogged down in the country of origin due to Covid related lockdowns, flights being grounded and many other issues further complicating the movement of seed across international borders.


Hygrotech has been very pro-active during the latter stages of 2021 ensuring that it has forecasted good amounts of seeds to be produced to ensure that South African growers will have seed available for planting early spring 2022 through to winter 2023! Part of the good governance to ensure supply has been to ensure that Hygrotech’s suppliers are producing seed globally in different hemispheres as well as in countries where political and climate security is more predictable and stable.

The following varieties will be available for export and supermarkets alike: Pilgrim, HSC 173, and Geneva Maxi. These varieties will produce most of its fruit in sizes ranging from 0.8kg-1.2kg. The NPK-fertilizer requirements are respectively 150kg N; 80kg P and 250kg K, where it is recommended to apply within 80 days as the growing period for these varieties is 90 days from plant to harvest under normal circumstances. For the processing and fresh markets, the reference is larger fruited varieties with weights ranging from 1.5kg- 3kg. Hygrotech offers Canesi, HSC 155, and Ultra.

This grouping of varieties has a slightly longer growing period, 100days, and thus has a higher NPK- fertilizer requirement at 170kg N; 100kg P and 280kg K. These quantities must be applied before 90 days as they normally grow from planting to harvest within 100 days. As with all other agricultural related products, it is much more important to plan ahead of time than what it was in the pre-pandemic era and thus it is important that growers secure their seed now by contacting their local Hygrotech technical representative to pre-order seed well before the butternut planting season kicks in!

Written by Henry van der Voort & Hugo Burger.

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