Monster pumpkin weighing almost 1,600 lbs wins annual prize in Germany

Michael Asam, who grew the heaviest pumpkin in Germany this year, is pictured sitting on top of his prize-winning entry.

(CNN)A man from Bavaria has won this year's award for the heaviest pumpkin grown in Germany, with his winning entry weighing in at a whopping 1,588 pounds (720.5 kilos).

Michael Asam, from Heretshausen, received the top prize at the annual German Pumpkin Weighing Championship, which took place in Ludwigsburg, Baden-Württemberg on Sunday.
Although Asam managed to narrowly beat the competition from another grower whose plant weighed 1,549 pounds (702.6 kilos), he was a long way short of the championship record of 2020.5 pounds (916.5 kilos), which was set two years ago.
    Stefan Hinner, who helped organize the event, told CNN that there had been a record 28 pumpkins entered into this year's competition, despite the fact that the prize money had to be halved to 500 euros ($589) because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
    In another change from previous years, the public were banned from watching the weigh-in due to Covid-19 health precautions.
    Hinner said that growing enormous pumpkins takes between 100 and 120 days, the same length of time as small ones."The difference is the kind of seed-—it's called Atlantic Giant," he explained.
    The competition honors Howard Dill, the Canadian pumpkin breeder who patented this seed variety, by awarding a prize in his name to the most beautiful pumpkin on show, according to Hinner.
    Most beautiful is not exactly "what the growers want," added Hinner about the award. "It's nice to have but of course they want the heaviest pumpkin."
    The European pumpkin-weighing championship will take place this weekend at the same venue, but travel restrictions mean that only entrants from Germany, Switzerland and Austria are expected, Hinner said.
      The heaviest pumpkin ever recorded was 2,624.6 pounds (1190.5 kilos) in weight and was grown by Mathias Willemijns from Belgium in 2016, according to Guinness World Records.
      For some perspective, that's much heavier than one of the lightest cars on the market, the Mitsubishi Mirage, which weighs 2,018 pounds (915.3 kilos).