Hero Image

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 logoThis year you can earn up to 6 BASIS points.  Two of the six points on offer can be obtained by heading to the BASIS stand, number 164, and presenting a BASIS membership card to a member of the team. Those without a card can fill in a form with their details. A further four points can be rewarded by taking part in the Fruit Forums, Research Tours and Wineskills Workshops. Find out more.

NRoSO logoNRoSO will also be offering 6 points this year. 2 points can be earnt for attending Fruit Focus; visit their stand (no 166) to obtain these. A further 2 points will be awarded for attending one Vineyard research tour and the technical workshop “Controlling disease for yield and quality” which takes place at 10.30am and 1.30pm with Duncan McNeill.

Research tours

2017 NIAB EMR Research Tours



An integrated portfolio of high performance, 'state-of-the art' trickle irrigation technologies for the soft fruit sector designed to improve water use efficiency, reduce costs and achieve industry leading yields.

Please note, ALL tours will start at the NIAB EMR stand (No. 44).

Tour No. 1
Dr Mark Else

Tour No. 2 including WET Centre press launch and opening 
Dr Nigel Kerby
Prof. Mario Caccamo

Tour No. 3 including 'Abstraction Reform'
presentation in the Forum Marquee
Henry Leveson-Gower

Tour No. 4
Antonio Llorente Garcia


Planted in 2015, the research vineyard will produce its first crop this autumn.
Tours will demonstrate NIAB EMR's work on the effect of soil health, weeds,
crop phenology, microclimate, quality and yield of different soil
management practices. 

Dr Emma Tilston

Dr Julien Lecourt
Concept Pear

In 2016, the Concept Pear Orchard which had one system yielding over 70
tonnes per hectare in 2015, suffered its first drop in productivity. Find out why.

Graham Caspell


The WET Centre

WET Centre, an integrated portfolio of high performance, ‘state-of-the-art’ trickle irrigation technologies and systems for the soft fruit sector, being established at NIAB EMR, will be launched at Fruit Focus on 19 July 2017. The facility is being developed alongside the project’s commercial partners; Berry Gardens Growers, Delta T Devices, Netafim UK, New Leaf Irrigation and CocoGreen presents, with further strategic support from Meiosis, Kent County Council and LEAF.

In its maiden year, visitors will see a commercial scale demonstration that, on the light of the oncoming Water Abstraction Licence Reform - which will increase the financial burden on trickle irrigation growers - will showcase a unique solution to improve water use efficiency, reduce costs and achieve industry leading yields and returns while serving as platform and reference for learning and discussion.

The WET Centre will initially focus on soft fruit, but will expand to tree fruit and salad crop sectors, as well as other reliable technologies all aimed at creating and promoting improved sustainability and profitability in the horticulture industry.

Dr Mark Else

Dr Mark ElseMark Else’s research focuses on understanding and manipulating crop and environmental interactions to improve resource-use efficiency, marketable yields and quality of fresh produce. 

A major focus of his research is the development and integration of precision irrigation and fertigation systems into commercial production to help improve on-farm efficiency, productivity and consistency of produce quality.



Antonio Llorente Garcia

Antonio LlorenteAntonio Llorente Garcia assists with product development for East Malling Services (EMS), the commercial subsidiary of EMR.

He works with a team that uses knowledge and technologies arising from research carried out at EMR, to develop new products for the horticultural sector. His main role lies in ensuring that the products developed match with the customers’ requirements.

Research Vineyard

Planted in 2015, the research vineyard at NIAB EMR will produce its first crop this autumn. This is a critical stage for a young vineyard and a time when soil management becomes even more crucial.

The challenge for UK wine producers, many of whom grow on sloped and/or chalky soils, is to maintain a healthy soil and reduce erosion, these two being amongst the most critical factors affecting the long-term sustainability and profitability of a crop.

Tours of the research vineyard will demonstrate what NIAB EMR is researching, including looking at the effects on soil health, including physical properties, weeds, crops phenology, microclimate, quality and yield, of different soil management practices.

During the tour, visitors to the research vineyard will also be able to assess the impacts of late frosts experienced in 2017 at East Malling. How have they affected the balance of fruits verses growth on the varieties and clones being trialled?

Dr Emma Tilston

Emma TilstonEmma Tilston’s research focuses on plant-soil-microbial interactions with the aim of improving sustainability of both soil-based and containerised horticultural systems.

She is specifically interested in the microbial ecology and allied decomposition and nutrient cycling processes occurring near plant roots and in the wider soil.


Dr Julien Lecourt

Dr Julien LecourtJulien 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).

Concept Pear Orchard

Planted in 2009, the Concept Pear Orchard at NIAB EMR has long been popular with visitors to Fruit Focus and the systems developed have now been adopted by several UK growers, but the 2017 tour to visit the crop is different. 

In 2016, the Concept Pear Orchard which had one system yielding over 70 tonnes per hectare in 2015, suffered its first drop in productivity. Was it the dry summer and autumn or a cropping unit that was running out of steam? This tour, led by NIAB EMR Farm Manager, Graham Caspell, will provide a fascinating look at how the crop is shaping up this year – we have high hopes!

Graham Caspell

Graham CaspellGraham 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.