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UK: Growers positive about first edition of GrowQuip

Following a programme of diverse and expert presentations from a wide variety of leading figures across the spectrum of commercial horticulture, and a lively networking dinner and breakfast attended by delegates and suppliers, feedback at the close of the inaugural GrowQuip event was extremely positive:

“I found the event incredibly useful, informative and motivating; the speakers were excellent”, confirms Andy Merrick of Farplants Ltd.

“I thought GrowQuip was great; really good speakers!”, confirms Guy Moreton from one of the sponsors of the event, MorePeople.

“We more than recouped the cost of attending by the contacts we had made by the evening” reports Hortifeeds, another sponsor and showcase participant.

GrowQuip was organised by the Commercial Horticultural Association to provide an opportunity for the trade to meet to exchange information on growers’ successes, the equipment available to increase success in the future and to hear industry figures give their views on future challenges and opportunities in the sector.

The presentations focused on how growers of fruit, vegetables, salads and ornamentals can equip themselves for success, and covered topics from how three dimensional growing systems are increasing cropping, to reducing pests and improving yields, how improvements to bio-friendly pest control are drastically reducing thrips damage, how mechanisation and robotisation are changing the face of growing, how growers and suppliers can work together up and down the supply chain, and an inspiring talk on how to capture consumers’ attention by transforming the marketing of your products, which gave food for thought to delegates across all the sectors represented.

James Simpson from Adrian Scripps explaining how robotics may be the way forward in apple picking.

Further presentations included hearing AHDB’s CEO outline their future plans, which was listened to attentively and there was considerable interest in the presentation at the breakfast briefing on the 27th by British Business Bank-backed URICA, on how growers and suppliers can benefit from their flexible finance platform which does away with personal guarantees and turns traditional factoring on its head. Through URICA, CHA supplier and grower members can use the firm’s online platform, enabling them to get their customer invoices paid in cash as early as the day after approval. For those businesses, there is no risk, zero debt, and no fear of late or non-payment of their invoices any longer.

The two day event at Stratford Manor Hotel encompassed a themed conference programme --Equip yourself for success-- which brought together the best brains in horticulture to provide growers with help in overcoming some of the common problems they face in the day to day running of their businesses.

Marshall Dirks from Proven Winners in the USA outlining the growth of his business.

The presentations were made by Marshall Dirks, Proven Winners, USA; James Simpson, MD of Adrian Scripps Ltd, UK top fruit growers; Jane King, CEO of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB); Dr Ed Moorhouse, Technical Consultant to G’s Fresh; Alex Fisher, Saturn Bioponics and Consultant for Valefresco Ltd; Bruce Harnett, Nuffield Scholar and MD for Kernock Park Plants; and Dr Clare Sampson, Keele University and Russell IPM – pest & disease expert, were introduced by Carol Paris, CEO of the Horticultural Trades Association and Amanda Sizer Barrett MBE, Director General of the Federation of Garden & Leisure Manufacturers.

Delegates also welcomed the opportunity to visit the exhibition showcase and network with fellow growers and suppliers. Sponsors of the event who were represented at GrowQuip included Bulrush Horticulture, Hortifeeds, XL Horticulture, PG Horticulture, Hortivation, URICA and MorePeople. GrowQuip was also supported by the trade organisations, Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH).

CHA Chairman Pat Flynn comments: “GrowQuip 2016 proved its worth as a cross-industry commercial horticultural conference which provided ideas, inspiration and possible solutions which may come from a different commercial horticultural sector to growers’ own – equipping you for success, equipping you for the future.”

Following the positive reaction to the content of the programme and the high calibre of speakers, the Commercial Horticultural Association is now working with its sponsors on ways in which to progress and develop this inaugural event.

For more information:
Pat Flynn
07778 313623
[email protected]

Gemma Chandler
01959 565995
[email protected]
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