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Fruit Focus:

New agronomy developments to help boost profits

Fruit Focus 2014 will continue the event’s reputation as a key venue for offering the latest agronomic developments and advice.

With more than 120 exhibitors there will be no shortage of information on the latest varieties, substrates, fertilisers and pest control techniques at the event, which takes place at East Malling Research, Kent, on 23 July.



Disease and pest control

Syngenta is exhibiting its new fungicide Geoxe, which offers broad-spectrum protection against key storage rot diseases in apples and pears. It provides a reduction in a range of pathogens, including Botrytis spp., Gloeosporium spp., and Penicillium spp. along with activity on Monilinia spp., Alternaria spp. and Nectria spp.

The extended protection offered by the single active, fludioxonil, coupled with the short three-day pre-harvest interval makes it a good fit for end of season applications, says Syngenta.

Fargro is showing a new biological insecticide to control caterpillars, Lepinox Plus. It is the only BT product with full label use on apples and pears, is highly selective and ideal for use as part of an integrated pest management programme, says the company. It is approved for use on many fruit, vegetable and salad crops.

Providing information and advice about how to most effectively use the biological fungicide Serenade in integrated botrytis control programmes in strawberries will be a key part of the Bayer CropScience stand. The company has been carrying out trials work investigating how to optimise integration of Serenade into traditional chemical control programmes.

Agronomy

First results from agronomy company Agrii’s new demonstration site for fruit production will be available from Agrii’s specialist fruit team.

The company took on the 1ha site at East Malling Research in 2012. A range of apple and pear varieties have been planted as well as other top, soft and bush fruit to test new ideas and techniques. This includes evaluations of herbicides, fertilisers and products for scab and powdery mildew control.

BASF is encouraging growers to share their research and development wish-list at Fruit Focus to help channel the company’s spend in this area.

Novel solutions such as biopesticides, root-stimulating bacteria and other agents to deliver pest control, water use efficiency and yield gain are a big focus as the pressure on conventional active ingredients increases. While the novel will not replace the conventional, such organisms will add to the range of options, says BASF.

Fertilisers and nutrition

Engage Agro Europe is launching Polli-Build, a new nutrient spray for the blossom period which uses organic acid technology, boron and bio activators to aid pollen production, hydration and germination to enhance fertilisation.

The product has been used for five years in Canada and the USA to produce a larger percentage of set flowers with stronger set, increasing production and uniformity, says the company.

Also on display is the new Releaf range of foliar micronutrients that use MAS (mineral assimilation technology) to enhance penetration, distribution and assimilation of nutrients.



A patented new highly acidifying and 100% soluble potassium and phosphate fertigation fertiliser, Select PeKacid, will be showed by Everris. It is recommended for use with hard water or calcareous soils and combines the advantages and efficiency of phosphoric acid with the ease and safety of a solid crystalline fertiliser, says the company.

Visitors can also find out more about Everris’s AngelaWeb precision nutrition programme that contains over 900 individual crop recommendations at different growth stages.

A brace of new fruit nutrition products are being launched at Fruit Focus by Hortifeeds. HortiBoost combines 19 essential amino acids, humic acid, fulvic acid, seaweed extract and major and minor nutrients from organic and inorganic sources for foliar and fertigation application.

HortiHumic Complex is modified potassium humate, providing humic and fulvic acids to aid nutrient uptake and organic nutrients and carbon. Another new introduction, Plant Impact InCa, is an advanced foliar fertiliser used to optimise movement and systemic distribution of calcium in soft fruit.

Substrates

Cocogreen’s drive to improve the homogeneity of coco peat in its coir strawberry grow bags and trough slabs is delivering consistent moisture and nutrient levels and improved yields, the company claims.

Following large scale efficiency savings it says its Pop Up coco peat coir products designed for can fruit crops have become more affordable and highly price competitive compared with buying a traditional pot and filling with a loose growing media.

Legro is presenting its fourth generation coir substrate, Legro Coir Air-Line, at Fruit Focus 2014. This coir contains perlite, an expanded volcanic rock that makes the mixture airier and ensures better drainage. The coir is more stable and more suitable for use for several seasons, says the company.

Botanicoir’s top-quality coir Precision Plus will be the key focus on the company’s stand at Fruit Focus 2014. Described as a very stable and long-lasting coir blend with industry-leading physical and chemical properties, Precision Plus is rapidly gaining popularity with UK growers, says Botanicoir.

The blend of different particle sizes ensures excellent drainage, air-filled porosity and water/nutrient holding capacity plus long-lasting structural integrity, it adds.

Rootstock

An apple rootstock to combat wet conditions is available from Frank Matthews. M116 was developed by East Malling in the 1960s but has only recently been taken up by growers. An alternative to MM106, with similar vigour, it has the benefits of good phytophthora resistance and is the one rootstock least affected by waterlogging while retaining high yields.

Varieties

Two strawberry varieties are being introduced by breeder Fresh Forward.

Vivaldi is a midseason June bearer with shiny, bright red berries, firm flesh and excellent shelf life. The fruits do not bruise easily and are suited to shipping long distances. Jive is a late June bearer with large, firm and very shiny orange-red berries that ripen slowly. The plant is robust and suited to cooler climates of western Europe.

Pollination

Agrovista, working with partner Koppert UK, has switched wholly to using the native sub species of bee, Bombus terrestris audax, for the pollination of fruit crops. With potential changes in legislation expected, the decision was taken to guarantee availability for UK crops. The company reports “excellent” pollination results.

This year also saw the launch of the Booster hive, designed for use in outdoor crops requiring high-powered pollination over a short time, such as cherries and blueberries.

More than 120 exhibitors and 1200 visitors are expected to attend Fruit Focus 2014. Tickets 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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