NFU Fruit Forums


NFU Fruit Forums

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  1. NFU's Ali Capper welcomes visitors and exhibitors to Fruit Focus 2021.
  2. NFU Fruit Forum

    With recruitment more challenging than ever, hear from NFU Horticulture board chair, Ali Capper, Concordia Chief Executive, Simon Bower, and DWP Employer Adviser, Keith Johnson, on what is being done to mitigate issues in 2021 and to secure long term solutions.

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  3. NFU Fruit Forum

    Against a backdrop of evolving farm policy, including the expected ending of the Producer Organisation scheme, and a backlog of crop protection authorisations, how can the UK horticulture sector continue to drive productivity and remain globally competitive? Ali Capper, NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board Chair, will be joined by Marion Regan, Managing Director of Hugh Lowe Farms, Chris Hartfield, NFU Senior Regulatory Affairs Adviser, and a Defra Representative, to discuss the topic.

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  4. NFU Fruit Forum

    Part 1:  Strawberry breeding and varieties

    NIAB EMR launches Malling Fruits, its new commercial arm, and outlines advances in fruit quality, production period, growth habits and disease resistance in strawberry breeding, including its two latest varieties – Malling Ace and Malling Vitality

    Part 2:  Growing Kent and Medway

    The Growing Kent & Medway consortium’s geographical location is home to over 40% of UK high-value horticultural production and a key gateway to global markets. The opportunity for growth in the sector is significant. However, productivity in this region is under-performing in stark contrast to other regions where investment in research and business led collaboration has resulted in significant economic uplift and prosperity. By driving innovation and productivity throughout the agri-food supply chain, Growing Kent & Medway will deliver sustainable economic and social benefits to a region that has some of the most deprived areas in England.

  5. NFU Fruit Forum

    The Future Farming and Countryside Programme is the team that’s responsible for transforming the way Defra support and regulate farming and the countryside in England. Over the next 7 years, the programme will be closing down existing schemes and rules and replacing them with Environmental Land Management, grant support, innovation, R&D support and a new approach to regulation and enforcement. Defra’s speaker will discuss how the organisation will make sure the programme delivers all this successfully and in a way that works for farmers and achieves the intended outcomes.

  6. NFU Fruit Forum

    This super session will bring together leading technologistics to discuss the future of robotics and automation in the fruit industry.  

    Part 1:  A Cleaner, Greener More Profitable Future - Autonomous Farming today

    Robert Pearson, CEO of Autonomous Spray Solutions will discuss topics including

    • How pressures on farming and food insecurity has driven technological innovation around the world
    • The impact this innovation is having in other countries
    • How these technologies can be used on our farms today
    • How these technologies will evolve over the next 5 years


    Part 2:  Fleets of autonomous robots in strawberry production 

    Our vision for future soft fruit farming encompasses fleets of electric robotic and autonomous systems powered by renewable energy that pick, transport, pack fruit whilst gathering data to maximise yield, reduce waste and environmental impacts. Additionally, these technologies underpin industry sustainability by reducing sector reliance on low skilled labour, whilst upskilling the existing workforce. In the Innovate UK-supported “Robot Highways” project the Universities of Lincoln and Reading work with SAGA Robotics, Clock House Farm Ltd, the MTC, BT and Berry Garden Growers to demonstrate this vision at scale. In this talk, Prof Hanheide, who leads the project developments at the University of Lincoln, will share the latest project results, discuss the potential of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for the Fruit Sector, ranging from reliable in-field logistics solutions working with the human workforce in the field, over advanced data gathering and analysis for planning and forecasting, towards eventually delivering an integrated robotics fleet offer crop care, monitoring, and harvest. 

    Part 3:  Applications of the Thorvald Robotic Platform to Tasks in Strawberry Cultivation

    The first task to have been commercialised is the chemical-free protection of commercial strawberry plantings from powdery mildew using UV-C light treatment, however many more solutions are in development. This session will cover autonomous human-free harvesting of commercial strawberries and the testing that is underway of a near market harvesting solution. Additionally, a precision spraying application is under development, along with applications for the removal of runners and for the distribution of predatory mites.  Once commercialised, all of these applications will have the potential to perform routine, labour-intensive tasks reliably, efficiently and cost-effectively.  This presentation will describe the Thorvald platform, the commercialisation of UV-C light treatment and will cover the work in progress on the development of other applications to commercial strawberry production.

  7. NFU Fruit Forum

    Biological insecticides and fungicides are set to take a greater role in crop protection programmes but getting the most from what they have to offer remains a work-in-progress. Bayer will be sharing learnings and experiences from the Netherlands and the UK to understand what results can be expected and how practices should be refined to maximise efficacy.

    Speakers: Jack Hill, Bayer Roots and Horti Commercial Manager and Richard Prankerd, Bayer Commercial Technical Manager

  8. NFU Fruit Forum

    This session will discuss how remote sensing and data visualisation can help you optimise your biological controls and IPM programme. Each individual control has specific requirements and timings that will enable them to perform at their best. Properly visualised data can help growers to make an informed decisions on when and what to apply. Getting these aspects of application correct is key to achieving good efficacy. 

  9. NFU Fruit Forum

    This session will cover the next generation of central control irrigation systems, the future of fertigation.  The technologies are changing so quickly and systems now allow the combination of various technologies to suit each project specific needs.  Users can now manage medium to very large projects with many irrigation lines using a single controller.  And this is just the beginning - join this session to learn more about what is currently available and what the next five years might hold for future of fertigation. 

  10. NFU Fruit Forum

    Plants principally take up calcium with water in the transpiration stream and it is moved via the xylem . As a result, plant tissues with high transpiration rates, such as leaves, receive more calcium. Conversely, those with low transpiration rates, such as fruit, can suffer from sub-optimal levels of calcium, despite ample availability in the soil and adjacent plant leaves. This session will discuss ways to increase localised calcium mobility and optimise calcium availability in fruit, improving quality, marketable yield and shelf life.

  11. NFU Fruit Forum

    Defra has committed to working in partnership with the farming community to co-design and develop its new policies, schemes and services. Neville Cavendish will be talking about why co-design is important, how farmers, land managers and professionals across the farming community can get involved, and what Defra is learning already by taking this new approach to designing its policy and services. You will have a chance to sign-up and get involved with Defra after this session.

  12. NFU Fruit Forum

    Thrips and whiteflies are a common problem on many crops and so a polyphagous predator that eats both is a very useful addition into the IPM program.  Amblyseius swirskii, is a generalist predatory mite which feeds on thrips and whitefly and also predates tarsonemid mite species, young spider mites, other small insects and pollen.  Bioline Agrosciences has created CART ‘Climate Adapted Release Technology’ and the technology means the mites are healthier on release and able to survive more than 6 days without food in the crop.  The ability to withstand stress conditions ensures whitefly and thrips are controlled in different cropping systems*, protected, semi-protected and openfield and many crops*, vegetables and berries, fruits and grapes, ornamentals, row crops and medicinal crops.