Bringing together over 1,300 growers and industry professionals, as well as 120 leading exhibitors, Fruit Focus 2018 is set to cater for the needs of everyone in the sector. “Showcasing everything from pre- and post-harvest technology to agronomy, machinery, business information and marketing, this year’s event will be packed with valuable insights,” says Jon Day, event director at Fruit Focus.
The popular NIAB EMR tours will feature the latest innovations, from new irrigation techniques to vineyard management and improving the pollination of strawberry crops. “The tours are a unique way to see new research, technology, and results in practice.”
The WET Centre with Dr Mark Else – 10:00am, 11:30am, 1:45pm and 2:45pm
With constant pressures to optimise water usage and improve efficiencies NIAB EMR’s showpiece demonstration feature, the WET Centre, will showcase the latest techniques for growers. “In the WET Centre’s first full year of production we are anticipating a heavy crop of Malling Centenary strawberries,” says Prof Mario Caccamo, managing director at NIAB EMR. Over the past year the new automated stations have measured just 5% run off from 50-metre rows. And for growers looking to improve mildew control, a new auto-venting system used in conjunction with NIAB EMR’s mildew model will be on show in the ‘advanced technologies’ section.
Pollination within strawberry crops with Dr Michelle Fountain – 10:30am
For growers interested in the latest advancements in strawberry production, a tour of the ‘Bumbleplus’ project, which aims to improve pollination in strawberry crops with bumblebees using caffeine, will be very insightful. It’s anticipated that this will add value to bee colony provision and enhance pollination. Along with two NIAB EMR PhD students, Dr Michelle Fountain will give an update on this interesting project.
R&D vineyard tour with Dr Julien LeCourt – 11:00am and 3:00pm
Growers wishing to see the latest research and developments in vineyard management need look no further than the vineyard tour. Fruiting for the first time since planting in 2015, attendees will be able to see new systems designed to save labour, protect against frosts and improve consistency of fruit quality and yields.
The biggest recent change has been the planting of an extension for a new EU Horizon 2020 project on Integrated Weeds Management: ‘Praise’. The aim is to fully quantify and qualify potential alternatives to herbicides. In the study, next generation imagery will be used to compare weed control measures and their effectiveness. “The Chardonnay vineyard, planted on one rootstock, is set to be full of sensors and will yield an unparalleled scientifically-robust commercial view on developing best practice,” says Prof Caccamo.
Concept Pear Orchard Tour with Graham Caspell – 2:00pm
This ever-popular tour demonstrates different production techniques and new science, much of which has since been adopted by the UK pear industry. This year attendees will be provided with an update on cropping levels expected later in the 2018 season.
“Fruit production is constantly progressing, so keeping on top of advancing practices and technologies is vital,” says Mr Day. “Attending the NIAB EMR tours at Fruit Focus will showcase the latest new developments, helping every grower to optimise production and cut input costs.”