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UK: Wide-ranging research on show in Fruit Focus tours

A wide range of novel topics that will help increase yields and quality in the near future will be on show in the Research Tours at Fruit Focus 2014.

Conducted by Fruit Focus host East Malling Research, each tour will cover
pheromone trap management, a novel apple counting system, the latest thinking on pear orchard management and a peak into EMR’s underground Rhizolab facility.

Tours will leave from the EMR stand at 11.30, 13.30 and 14.30, providing a great opportunity for visitors to quiz researchers about these important areas of work and how they might benefit their businesses.

Stop 1
Management of pheromone traps
Host: Dr Michelle Fountain, East Malling Research

The tour kicks off with a demonstration of a range of insect pheromone traps and how to use them, including maintenance, placement and timing, and identification of the pests.

Visitors will be shown how the pheromone traps can be used to time spray applications. In addition, the use of pheromone mating disruption and mass trapping will also be described, though the main focus will be on monitoring.

The session will be open to questions, providing growers with a valuable opportunity to discuss any uncertainties they may have in using the various traps.

Stop 2
PomeVision at Fruit Focus
Hosts: Dr Tony Harding, Worldwide Fruit; Laurence Dingle, the Technology Research Centre

A demonstration of a pre-production orchard-based Apple Counting Vision System is expecting to be operating in the Apple Progeny Area next to the Concept Pear Orchard.

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

PomeVision will help growers 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.

Stop 3
Concept Pear Orchard
Hosts: Francis Wheatley, Chingford Fruit Ltd; Graham Caspell, East Malling Research

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 the commercial viability of home-grown Conference pears can be improved.

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 fifth 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
Host: 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 1960s, 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 affect them in the future.

Fruit Focus takes place at East Malling Research, Kent on 23 July. Tickets for Fruit Focus 2014 cost £10 and are available online or on the day. For more information about tickets and the event go to

For more information
Fruit Focus
Robert Harris Communications
Robert Harris, pr
T: +44 01424 883383 or +44 07768 402850
[email protected]

Jon Day, Event Director
Haymarket Business Exhibitions
T: +44 01788 892042 or +44 07717 541500
[email protected]

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