Fruit Focus 2014- EMR Tours

Stop 1: Management of pheromone traps

Dr Michelle Fountain, East Malling Research

Michelle will demonstrate a range of insect pheromone traps and how to use them, including maintenance, placement and timing, and identification of the pests. She will explain how the pheromone traps can be used to time spray applications. She will briefly describe the use of pheromone mating disruption and mass trapping, though the main focus will be on monitoring.

The session will be open to questions as it is intended that growers will be able to discuss uncertainties they have in using the various traps.


Stop 2: “PomeVision”

Dr Tony Harding, Worldwide Fruit

Laurence Dingle, the Technology Research Centre

This stop will feature a demonstration of a pre-production orchard-based apple counting vision system (PomeVision).

PomeVision will help growers to improve both the quality and yield of their crops through a precision horticulture approach, and give them a much improved idea of how much produce they can expect to market.

The system was invented by Worldwide Fruit and Fruition PO, in conjunction with The Technology Research Centre Limited, which was created with support from the Technology Strategy Board’s PomeVision project.


Stop 3: Concept Pear Orchard

Francis Wheatley, Chingford Fruit Ltd

Graham Caspell

A decline in the area planted with ‘Conference’ pear between 1997 and 2006 has led to concerns over future production in the UK. Currently, 16,000t of pears sold in the UK are British grown, just one third of the total demand, highlighting that the import replacement opportunity is strong.

In 2009, Sainsbury’s, Chingford Fruit Ltd and East Malling Research created the Sainsbury’s East Malling Concept Pear Orchard. The orchard tests intensive growing technology that has transformed the Dutch pear growing industry. The orchard has already (2013) yielded 45t/ha and is expected to deliver 55t/ha when established, compared with 18-20t/ha from traditional orchards. It is hoped that by adopting these new techniques, annual UK production could increase to about 36,000t.

The East Malling Concept Pear Orchard evaluates four different planting regimes (traditional bush, multi-V system, double head system and single stem ‘Run Thru’). The aim is to demonstrate to British growers, which of the four techniques is most productive in our climate and how they can improve the commercial viability of home-grown ‘Conference’ pears.

The orchard produced its first fruits in 2010, whereas a traditional orchard would have been unlikely to fruit until 2015. During the tour, East Malling’s Commercial Farm Manager, Graham Caspell will update growers on year-on-year production in this the 5th cropping year for the orchard. He will discuss yields and grade-outs against yield from the four systems and any effects that recent weather patterns have had on production.


Stop 4: The EMR Rhizolab

Dr Nicola Harrison

The EMR Rhizolab is a unique facility that allows in situ observation and sampling of perennial crops, both above ground and below ground.  This underground laboratory, originally built in the 1960’s, was refurbished in 2013 with funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The laboratory has been re-equipped to study the root growth of modern apple trees and perennial grasses, to understand the flow of carbon from plants to soil. Plantings of perennial grasses and a high-intensity apple orchard will be undertaken in 2014. The EMR Rhizolab is a UK national capability facility that will encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration within the science community to deliver world-leading research and support national strategic needs. This will be the first opportunity for UK growers to see the refurbished laboratory and to hear about the work planned and how it will impact them in the future.

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