Mechanical weed control shows promise in Canada

Faced with increasing numbers of herbicide-resistant weeds, Canadian farmers on the Prairies are tuning back to mechanical weed control, but rather than hoeing or cultivation, they are looking at clipping weeds to prevent seed formation.

A new project at the University of Saskatchewan is evaluating in-crop weed clipping as a method for weed control, with the objective of developing a strategy to reduce weed seed production: reducing the seed bank in the soil to reduce future infestations.

“The main applications for weed clipping are to lower populations of herbicide-resistant weeds that have escaped herbicide application, and to reduce weed populations in organic systems,” says Lena Syrovy, a research assistant at the Agronomy and Weed Ecology Lab at the University of Saskatchewan. She points out that the weed must be taller than the crop and produce most of its seeds above the crop canopy.

The research team is currently using a CombCut machine from European manufacturer Just Common Sense, but Syrovy added: “I’ve talked to growers who are modifying their swathers to clip weeds above the crop canopy.” Canadian manufacturer Bourgault has also recently launched its BTT weed clipper.

Photo Caption: Combcut machine in operation

Photo Credit: YouTube / Just Common Sense AB

The post Mechanical weed control shows promise in Canada appeared first on Hort News on 26 April 2018.

Report says £10m a year needed to protect UK soils

A new report from WWF, The Rivers Trust and The Angling Trusts claims that spending approximately £10 million a year on soil protection measures in the UK would ensure a future for agriculture and reverse the decline of the 86 per cent of rivers that are currently classed as unhealthy.

WWF claims that up to a third of farmers are currently not complying with England’s water protection laws; which has led to widespread soil degradation, pollution of rivers, increased flood risk, and higher costs for local authorities and water bill payers.

The report’s authors say that creating a properly funded, locally coordinated farm advice service is needed to help farmers care for the environment while maintaining crop productivity. It estimated the cost for effective enforcement and advice in England as being about £10 million per year. It points out that this is a fraction of the current £2 billion provided under the Common Agricultural Policy.

Tony Juniper, Executive Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF, said, “We have a once in a life time opportunity to create and support the nature we want to live in. We could have a farming system that contributes to a healthier planet. But to do that, we have to think locally, by restoring our wildlife and stopping agricultural run-off polluting our rivers. We need to not only put in place the right legislation and protections, but we must have robust enforcement or else we will waste this unique occasion.”

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The post Report says £10m a year needed to protect UK soils appeared first on Hort News on 26 April 2018.

AHDB Sutton Bridge launches VarietyCheck service

AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research has announced the launch of a new potato storage service called VarietyCheck for the forthcoming season.

AHDB point out that, “With new regulations on acrylamide and fewer sprout suppressants it is more important than ever to get the right storage conditions for your variety of choice.” The new service will be tailored to crop variety and dormancy, as well as end use.

For example, for processing crops using a variety with long dormancy and the ability to store at lower temperature without sweetening is beneficial. For fresh market packing varieties, maintaining appearance and avoiding blackheart are high priorities.

AHDB says that VarietyCheck will use established methods to objectively assess grower’s new varieties or potato stocks under defined and accurately controlled storage conditions with processing or fresh pack storage options. The service will cost £1,250 (excluding VAT) per variety/stock for the first stock, with discounts available for multiple submissions.

Photo Credit: AHDB Potatoes

The post AHDB Sutton Bridge launches VarietyCheck service appeared first on Hort News on 26 April 2018.

Norfolk Radishes Get Underway in New Facility

Radish has been one of the fastest growing categories in UK salads in recent years and now one of the UK’s largest producers: G’s Growers has opened a new washing and grading line at Feltwell Growers in Norfolk.

The new 980sq meter building, which houses five new lines to wash and grade the pack, was constructed in less than six months, despite one of the harshest winters that Norfolk has seen in recent years.

“Production of UK radish traditionally starts on St Georges Day, so given the cooler than average weather conditions through February and March we are pleased to have UK crop being trialled through the new line,” explained Scott Watson, general manager of G’s Feltwell Growers.

The new packing facility is the latest in a series of investments by G’s in its radish business over the past 10 years and the company says it has a range of exciting radish based NPD due to launch through the course of the summer that should encourage shoppers to take a lot more interest in the category. It will also continue to support its ongoing Love Radish PR campaign (www.loveradish.co.uk).

Photo Caption: Some of the new radish grading lines

Photo Credit: G’s Growers

The post Norfolk Radishes Get Underway in New Facility appeared first on Hort News on 26 April 2018.

Philips Lighting issues LED recipe for roses

Philips Lighting has unveiled its new Philips GreenPower LED toplighting with a light spectrum optimized for cut rose cultivation.

The new GreenPower LED toplighting with cut rose spectrum allows growers to increase light levels year-round without increasing heat. During trials by Delphy and Wageningen University, and monitored by experienced rose growers, the new lighting improved the quality of the roses and was 40 per cent more energy efficient compared to high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting.

“Since we first introduced LED toplighting in 2015, we have been working intensively with a group of about 30 rose growing companies, consultants, universities, research institutes and representatives from the Dutch government, active in developing the rose sector, to further refine our light recipes for rose cultivation,” said Udo van Slooten, Business Leader Horticulture at Philips Lighting. “The feedback from this network helped us improve the quality and quantity of roses grown under LED lighting.”

“The rose branches under the new spectrum are longer, heavier and have bigger buds,” Marc Koene, owner of SK Roses in the Netherlands added.

The new LED rose light recipe is available with the newest generation of Philips GreenPower LED toplighting. In the Philips GreenPower toplighting with rose spectrum, a small amount of white LEDs have been added to assist people working in the greenhouse to perform labour tasks like harvest and scouting.

https://hortnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Philips-Lighting-rose-toplighting-recipe-702×336.jpg

Photo Credit: Philips Lighting

The post Philips Lighting issues LED recipe for roses appeared first on Hort News on 18 April 2018.

Drones could spot potato virus in fields

A US scientist is investigating the potential of using aerial drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to spot symptoms of potato diseases live PVY.

Donna Delparte, assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences at Idaho State University (ISU) discussed her research at the Idaho Potato Conference in January.

“They are very much the future, especially when we’re working on trying to expand the technology and look at new and novel ways to use UAV, such as crop-invasive species,” she said.

Using a special camera it’s possible to fly a drone over a field and determine the precise locations of plants infected with PVY with a reasonable level of certainty. Delparte’s team created a profile of what an infected plant looks like with a hyperspectral camera, and then took that profile to the field to identify infected plants. The results were ‘ground-truthed’ and after tuning the algorithm reached an 89.8 percent success rate.

The drone imagery combined with a Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS system, provided the location of the PVY infected potato plants. “Imagine we send a farmer a dot on a map or a GPS that says, ‘this is where you should be able to find PVY infected plants,’ and be able to do some sort of mitigation,” Delparte explained.

Despite the promise, the costs of the camera and the computing power required to crunch the large amount of data generated are both issues which need to be overcome.

Photo Credit: pxhere

The post Drones could spot potato virus in fields appeared first on Hort News

Syngenta acquires sweet corn breeder Abbott & Cobb

Syngenta’s US business has announced that it has acquired independent Pennsylvania-based vegetable breed and seed producer Abbott & Cobb.

Established in 1917, Abbott & Cobb is particularly strong in sweet corn and cucurbits, as well as peppers and beans for processing. According to Syngenta, combining the expertise, portfolios and pipelines of both companies will enable it to increase its ability to innovate and enhance its offer to growers. In particular it will strengthen Syngenta’s vegetable seeds business in sweet corn, which is seen as one of the company’s core crops globally.

Javier Martinez-Cabrera, Syngenta Head of Vegetables Seeds North America, commented, “Abbott & Cobb is a strategic acquisition for Syngenta Vegetable Seeds and it will give us access to high eating quality germplasm, and early maturity varieties to complement the Syngenta portfolio. We welcome the Abbott & Cobb team into the business and look forward to achieving great things as one team.”

Photo Caption: Abbott & Cobb are leading breeders of sweat corn

Photo Credit: Abbott & Cobb / Twitter

The post Syngenta acquires sweet corn breeder Abbott & Cobb appeared first on Hort News on 18 April 2018.

Aylsham potato grower to build new store

Norfolk-based E F Harrold Ltd of Oulton, near Aylsham, has applied for planning permission to build a new 2,200 tonne potato box store according to the Eastern Daily Press.

The development at street farm would include an open loading canopy, an office and machinery store.

A design and access statement presented to Broadland District Council as part of the application says: ‘The business has limited potato storage of its own… Moving all of potatoes directly off the farm at harvest time is a logistical problem, a very inefficient use of labour, due to the sporadic nature of harvest; and with its intensive nature, an intensive use of the local road network.’

Photo Caption: Harvesting potatoes at E F Harrold

Photo Credit: Ben Burgess / Twitter

The post Aylsham potato grower to build new store appeared first on Hort News on 18 April 2018.

Exciting new varieties from summer fruiting raspberry trials

AHDB Horticulture is highlighting the benefits of variety trials on new raspberry varieties funded by the levy board.

“Exciting work coming out of the latest summer fruiting raspberry variety trials means that soft fruit growers have increased access to delicious and profitable selections,” says AHDB Knowledge Exchange manager Scott Raffle. “Over the years, the UK Raspberry Breeding Programme has produced many competitive new varieties. The trial allowed the performance of a wide variety of selections to be compared to industry standards, Tulameen and Octavia.”

He says that of particular note were Squamish, Glen Carron, Glen Dee and two late selections from NIAB EMR, all of which he described as “outstanding.” Canadian variety Squamish produces unusually high yields for an early variety and has a low chilling requirement compared to Tulameen.

“Glen Carron (formerly 0485K-1) produces a very high quality raspberry that is consistently larger than Tulameen,” adds Scott. “It does have a high chilling requirement, but it could perform well when used in sequential plantings of cold stored long canes. Glen Dee offers a late season replacement to Octavia with very large berry size, high yields and high fruit quality.”

The trials also suggest that two NIAB EMR selections (EM6805/142 and EM 6804/81) could replace Octavia, producing higher yields than the long established standard. Two selections from Washington State University (WSU 1605 and WSU 1607) are also interesting.

“With more selections becoming available each year, growers are encouraged to seize the opportunity to compare some of the new outstanding varieties and selections with their own production systems,” stresses Scott, who recommends that growers download the AHDB Summer Fruiting Raspberry Variety Trial factsheet.

Photo Caption: Glen Carron was one of the varieties highlighted by Scott Raffle

Photo Credit: James Hutton Limited

The post Exciting new varieties from summer fruiting raspberry trials appeared first on Hort News on 18 April 2018.

New Vice-Chairman for Leek Growers Association

The Leek Growers Association has a new Vice Chairman, Stewart Aspinall of Farringtons Ltd in Lancashire. Tim Casey was re-elected as the Chairman at the recently held AGM.

Members who attended the AGM were able to taste “gut healthy” leek and cheese seeded flapjacks prepared by Carole Pendle, who gave an update on the 2017/18 season Leeks Public Relations Campaign.

Highlights from the ‘Health & Wellbeing’ themed campaign included press articles featuring recent research that shows leeks have high levels of inulin, a prebiotic, which helps gut health. This is now recognised as central to overall health, benefitting sleep quality, stress levels and digestive issues. A range of ‘gut health’ recipes were produced for the campaign in consultation with nutritionist Christine Bailey.

A range of educational resources were also created to work with primary schools and inner-city farms, highlighting the benefits of eating ‘The Incredible Edible Leek’.

The Association will be organising a Leek Agronomy Day in February 2019 to highlight new leek varieties in the field, alongside a series of technical presentations and trade exhibition.

The post New Vice-Chairman for Leek Growers Association appeared first on Hort News on 16 April 2018.