There are predictions of an asparagus shortage as growers look to leave the industry. Many typical growing areas have been replaced with dairy farms and grapes.
Horticulture New Zealand says low returns, high land prices and the intensive nature of harvesting the crop have seen grower numbers dwindle in the past 20 years.
It estimates that 84% of current asparagus blocks in New Zealand will be gone by 2014.
Because asparagus plants take five years to reach full production, the industry says new blocks must be replanted now or a massive shortfall will result.
This year about 30 hectares will be replanted, but Horticulture NZ says about 400 hectares are required.
The Asparagus Council says many typical growing areas have been replaced with dairy farms and grapes.
In the 1980's there were an estimated 500 growers. The number is now around 80.
The Tendertips company expects only six or seven major companies will grow asparagus in future.
Based between Foxton and Levin, Tendertips grows around 500km of asparagus. The harvesting period is from mid September until Christmas.