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UK: Research to investigate on farm losses launched

Strawberry and lettuce growers are being invited to contribute evidence on crop losses by leading resource efficiency charity WRAP and the produce sector.

AHDB Horticulture and growers, such as Intercrop, are participating in the research, which aims to develop the first national-level estimate of the quantity and causes of strawberry and lettuce losses on farm.

Growers who complete the survey will receive feedback on how they compare to average losses seen in the research, and those that include a suggestion for how losses could be reduced will be entered into a prize draw to win a tablet computer.

The web survey – which is being complemented by an additional programme of on-farm data collection and grower interviews – is accessible at the WRAP website which can be accessed by clicking here.

Thane Goodrich, General Manager of Intercrop, said: “Understanding lettuce crop losses is really important for the profitability of our business. By participating in this project we hope to identify improvement opportunities in our own operations, learn more about how we compare to others and at the same time contribute to industry-wide efforts to create a more resource efficient sector.”

AHDB Horticulture, the NFU and LEAF are sitting on the project steering group. Andrew Tinsley, Research & KE Manager at AHDB Horticulture, said: “Tackling losses has become a major priority for the food industry. This much needed research will help improve our understanding of the scale of these losses and start to identify potential opportunities for the industry to tackle this complex issue together. The more growers contribute to this work, the clearer the picture will be.”

There is currently a lack of good evidence on the scale of on-farm crop losses, however the causes are known to include many complex factors, sometimes outside the control of growers – such as unexpected changes to consumer demand and unfavourable weather.

The research is led by WRAP, and delivered by the University of Warwick and Oxford-based agri-food consultancy 3Keel LLP. The results of the project are expected to be published in spring 2016.

Further information on the work can be found at the website by clicking here.

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