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Research Tours

Keep up to date with the latest fruit research and scientific developments

The scope of work at NIAB EMR is hugely impressive from new varieties through to pest control and water efficiency. Fruit Focus offers the ideal opportunity to take a guided tour encompassing East Malling Research's latest fruit research.

Sign up for the tours at the NIAB EMR stand as soon as possible on arrival to avoid disappointment. The tours are very popular so it is advised to put your name down sooner rather than later.

BASIS logoBASIS offered the highest number of points at Fruit Focus 2016, giving members the opportunity to earn a maximum of 6 from the 12 available throughout the day. 1 CPD point was awarded for attending the NFU Forums, Research Tours and Wine Skills Workshops. 

The details and timings of the tours and topics from 2016 can be found below. 

Research tours

Viticulture Research at NIAB EMR 

Dr Julien Lecourt    

Time: 11.00am and 2.00pm 2016

Julien LecourtNIAB EMR is partnering with UK vineyards to ensure that its world-class fruit science will play a significant role to further advance viticulture unique to the UK climate. The quality of UK wines has dramatically increased this last decade, and further improvements in viticulture will enable the production of the finest quality, globally-recognised, unique wines and an increase in winemakers’ margins. NIAB EMR draws on a century of success in supporting global fruit production and is focussing its viticulture research and development activity on improving quality, reducing costs and helping the UK wine industry.

This tour will outline NIAB EMR’s research programme and showcase the research vineyard planted in 2015 for both scientific and demonstration purposes. The vineyard is ensuring that our research is directly applicable to commercial vineyards and also provides an essential tool to test upstream innovative practices or novel ideas of research in viticulture.

Julien studies how pre-harvest factors and management affect plant physiology and post-harvest fruit quality. His key research area is developing new growing systems in the orchard by studying how canopy structure affects light interception and resource partitioning in trees. He is also developing research on “new crops”, especially on grapevine physiology. Julien holds a BSc in Plant biology (Caen University, France), an MSc in Plant Physiology and Biotechnologies (Caen University, France) and a PhD studying the rootstock effect on nitrogen use efficiency in grafted grapevines (University of Bordeaux, France).

European apple canker control

Dr Robert Saville, NIAB EMR

Time: 11.30am and 2.30pm 2016

Robert SavilleIn April 2015 a new 5-year AHDB project was commenced on the integrated management of tree fruit pests and diseases. Lead by NIAB EMR, this project brings together expertise from NIAB EMR, ADAS, Natural Resources Institute and the University of Reading. The project focuses on multiple targets including European apple canker, scab, powdery mildew, Monilinia species and bacterial canker affecting stone fruit, codling and tortrix moths, pear sucker, apple fruit rhynchites weevil, apple sawfly and phytophagous mites. 

This session will focus on the work being carried out on European apple canker control including the use of biological soil amendments to improve tree establishment and a demonstration of a tree injection device which is being used to test various chemical, biological and defense eliciting treatments.

Robert is a general pathologist of top fruit, soft fruit and ornamentals. He undertakes applied and fundamental research to serve the UK horticultural  sector. His roles as an applied pathologist range from developing control strategies for problem diseases, chemical and biocontrol agent product efficacy testing, crop walking, and running NIAB EMR’s Plant Clinic. Fundamental research includes epidemiology, metagenomics and resistance screening.

Concept Pear Orchard Update

Graham Caspell, NIAB EMR

Time: 12.00pm 2016

Graham CaspellIn 2009, Sainsbury's, Chingford Fruit Ltd and East Malling Research created the Sainsbury's East Malling Concept Pear Orchard to determine if the adoption of intensive growing technology could help to boost annual UK production of pears from 16,000t to 36,000t. 

Four different planting regimes are being evaluated in the orchard: traditional bush, multi-V system, double head system and single stem 'Run Thru'. The aim is to demonstrate, which of the four techniques is most productive in the British climate and how the commercial viability of home-grown ‘Conference’ pears can be improved.

For the 2015 harvest the entire orchard produced a total of 56t/ha, with the ‘V’ system yielding over 70T/ha.  This compares with 18-20t/ha, the average yield from a traditional orchard.

The orchard produced its first fruits in 2010, whereas a traditional orchard would have been unlikely to fruit until 2015. During the tour, Head of Farm and Horticultural Services at NIAB EMR, Graham Caspell, will update growers on year-on-year production in this the 7th cropping year for the orchard. He will discuss yields and grade-outs against yield from the four systems, any effects that recent weather patterns have had on production and future plans. 

Graham is Farm and Horticultural Services Manager at NIAB EMR. His role involves innovating, adopting and adapting scientific and agronomic advancesfrom NIAB EMR or other parts of the world, and applying them to commercial growing situations, on the 220ha site. Graham has also represented growers’ views on associations, PO’s and NFU committees. Graham won the “Specialist Fruit Grower of the Year” category at the 2015 UK Grower Awards for his work at NIAB EMR.