Chicory (Chicorium intybus) is a hardy biennial belonging to the sunflower family and well suited to Western Europe. It produces a long taproot which penetrates deep into the soil.

Chicory agronomy information

This tap-root can be used as a caffeine-free coffee substitute, or as a source of inulin, which can be used to make a sweetener that is suitable for diabetics to use. Major production is in Belgium, which along with the Netherlands produces some 5,000 ha annually. Yields are comparable with sugar beet, of up to 50t/ha of roots giving 9t/ha inulin.

Early sowing from late March to early April, is encouraged to lengthen the growing season. Fertile, well-drained soils are preferable with poorly drained, stony and compacted soils best avoided. For optimum production, pH should be in the range of 5.5-7.0. Harvest of mature roots should occur before early winter frosts in autumn/early winter.

For use as a coffee substitute Magdeburg chicory is used, which yields about 25t/ha. Chicory responds well to applications of nitrogen, phosphate and potash, so for high yields, up to 150kg/ha nitrogen should be applied. The crop may also require applications of boron; therefore tissue samples should be taken to monitor for deficiencies.

Recommended chicory fertiliser programme

chicory fertiliser recomendations