New equipment lines up at Fruit Focus 2014

Visitors to Fruit Focus 2014 will be spoiled for choice with the range of new products and equipment on show at the event.

As well as new launches, exhibitors will be displaying and discussing their latest kit, from strawberry trays to sprayers.

The event takes place on 23 July at East Malling Research and includes a live demonstration arena where visitors can assess the performance of specialist fruit tractors, a novel mobile frost protector and two new biological agent applicators.

Frost protection
Tow and Blow UK is demonstrating what it claims is the world’s first truly portable wind machine to protect crops from frost. Developed in New Zealand, Tow and Blow is a simple, efficient, portable wind machine that uses an easy-to-service engine at the top of an 8m extendible tower, near the fan, all mounted on a light towable trailer. It can protect up to 4ha at a time.
* This machine will be demonstrated in the live demonstration arena (see timetable at end for details).

Precision farming
Plantsystems tunnel monitoring solutions are creating a great deal of interest from growers from Scotland down to Kent, says Agrovista.

The solar-powered kits need minimal installation and maintenance and provide a wealth of information to PC or mobile device to help optimise crop production and quality. Temperature, relative humidity, water deficits, wind speed and ECs are all visible, and can be linked to upper and lower limit alarms, or to automated systems.

The WET Sensor from Delta-T Devices enables growers to measure three vital substrate properties: water content, pore water electrical conductivity (EC) and temperature in coir, peat, mineral wool, and potting soils.

This enhanced version is fast, accurate and easy to use to guide fertigation decisions, helping to establish and maintain optimal growing conditions. Readings are displayed for immediate interpretation, and can also be stored on the hand-held HH2 Meter for later download to PC, archiving and seasonal management.

Thinning
Clemens will show new developments to its Flexitree thinning machine used to cut fruit tree blossom in the spring. The machine will be mounted on a Clemens Atlas lifting pole, which gives better angle adjustment and view. A hydraulic width adjustment is also planned. The Atlas pole with improved construction and load-bearing capacity makes its Fruit Focus debut.

Tractors
Local John Deere dealer Burden Bros Agri will display and demonstrate equipment from its specialist fruit and vineyard range. This includes the 90hp John Deere 5090GF, one of a range of specialist narrow fruit tractors, and the JD XUV855D Gator, a flexible, diesel-powered, four-wheel drive utility vehicle that suits all kinds of fruit and vegetable activities.
* Both machines will be demonstrated in the live demonstration arena (see timetable at end for details).

Sprayers, foggers and applicators
Brinkman is using Fruit Focus to show its PTO-driven TracFOG unit from pulsFOG. The cold fogging aerosol generator is equipped with two ULV nozzles that can move in all directions. In non-windy conditions, it can reach a fogging height of 20-30m and in indoor greenhouses a fogging width of 50m or more.

Micron’s ground-following Enviro range of shielded sprayers are mounted on carriages that enable the shield to follow ground contours, minimising spray drift on uneven terrain and ensuring a better distribution of spray.

Now available in a choice of HiFlo (hydraulic pressure nozzle) or CDA (controlled droplet application) spray systems, Enviro sprayers feature a freely rotating shield and a breakaway arm which gently deflects and rolls the shield around the base of the trees or vines.

The RotaBug is a new applicator from Koppert for dosing biological agents in large-scale strawberry crops. RotaBug (W) is a pedestrian-operated version for use on ground or low elevation beds and is adjustable to dose from two to six beds or rows with one pass.

RotaBug (R) is the tractor-mounted version designed for table-top systems, though it can be operated at ground level or on low elevation beds. It is adjustable to dose from four to eight rows with one pass.
* Both machines will be demonstrated in the live demonstration arena (see timetable at end for details).

Containers
Beekenkamp Verpakkingen is introducing a new 18-hole strawberry tray and two growing pots for raspberry cultivation.

The tray uses the same surface area as the existing 16-hole tray, saving strawberry plant growers 12.5% of their production space even though the cup has the same size and volume.

The raspberry growing pots, a seven-litre and 10-litre version, have extended legs to keep plant roots out of soil. Both tray and pots are made of polypropylene that is suitable for steaming.

Holfeld Plastics will show its recently launched K37/75 punnet, a robust, deep type made from a blend of up to 90% recyclable for a range of larger fruits such as kiwi, peaches, grapes and strawberries.

Packaging
Proseal is demonstrating its most recent technical enhancements, E-Seal, I-Film, Pro-Motion and Pro-Tect, which are available on all its new models and can also be easily added to current machines.

E-seal combines energy savings with high quality seals, delivering an increased force of 700% for reliable high-precision seals while reducing compressed air use by 92%.

I-Film monitors film diameter to enhance online printing at high speeds, while Pro-Motion uses following motion and intelligent buffering technology to ensure trays feed continuously into the sealer. Pro-Tect is a contactless user login security system providing individual access for authorised operators.

Sharpak Aylesham will show a new packaging range that meet the growing surge in demand for healthy snacks such as berries, grapes and cherries.

The new range offers three options: a hinged pack and a pack with a separate lid available in two heights. Both are designed for automated filling, have a pop-up pressure opening system, and offer ventilation to allow the product to breathe.

Covers
Capatex has developed its Smart Cover system to improve rain protection to improve control of Botrytis. It has also developed netting to reduce wind damage and can offer a range of anti-bird and hail nettings suitable for covering fruit trees as well as rain cover systems to protect cherry orchards.

Live Demonstration Arena


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 www.fruitfocus.co.uk.


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