Friday, December 6, 2019

Four new strategic centres for field vegetables launched

November 6, 2019 by  
Filed under News & Business

Field vegetable producers are set to benefit from four new strategic centres that will demonstrate the latest horticultural research in practice.

Launched by AHDB Horticulture, the four centres will showcase the latest ideas, science and technology to improve integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. They are focused on carrots, peas, onions and brassicas.

Trials in the four centres will cover a range of topics to support IPM programmes, including; timing fungicide applications based on disease monitoring and forecasting, testing novel plant protection products, and developing an app to create UK pest distribution maps.

Located across the UK, the demonstration sites build on the success of AHDB’s variety trial programme – which has been running for over 20 years – by expanding to incorporate grower-led research trials.

AHDB knowledge exchange manager Dawn Teverson she hoped to encourage the uptake of new ideas. “It’s also an important way for us to work in partnership with growers to run demonstration trials showcasing solutions to the issues and challenges that are most pressing for them.”

In addition to the established variety evaluation trials that are prized and trusted by the industry, further trials include drilling depths and crop establishment for carrots and crop spacing to produce the required bulb size for onions.

Dr Teverson added: “We hope to extend the number of locations around the UK in future years. An important element of these centres is that trials are grower-led, it’s growers who are recommending which trials they would like to see on their farms.”

Freshgro managing director Martin Evans, who chairs the AHDB field vegetable panel, said the centres would encourage grower-to-grower learning by allowing farmers to informally share and discuss their experiences with one another

“The demonstration trials and events will look at the whole crop management, from nutrients, water use, to pest management and will help the industry improve productivity.”

The Strategic Centres for Field Vegetables are part of AHDB’s Farm Excellence platform, improving industry performance and success by sharing knowledge and ideas through farmer-to-farmer learning.

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