Tag Archives: top fruit

New protection system for cherries comes to Europe

A new cherry protection system, which the manufacturers claim can be opened and closed in minutes, is heading to European orchards having been successfully used in Chile.

Wayki Solutions says that a single worker can cover, or remove, on hectare in just 20 minutes, much less time than is required with most other systems, including automated ones. The system uses a normal hand drill to turn the winding mechanism, which in turn opens and closes the covers, which sit above the existing orchard poles.

Cristián Lopez of Wayki Europe said, “Around the world, we are experiencing more and more severe and unexpected weather conditions. This has serious implications for the fruit business as it raises the possibility of events including rain and hail damaging fruit, and high winds damaging growing infrastructure such as poles and cables. Wayki is a very exciting development because it gives growers the control to cover and uncover their orchards and vineyards in a matter of minutes in response to these events.”

As well as cherries, the company believes that the cover system may have applications for crops including blueberries, apples and other soft fruit, and different types of cover can be fitted.

Photo Credit: pixabay

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Plums are latest crop to be affected by the weather

Plums are the latest British crop to be affected by this summer’s extreme weather.

Growers from the Vale of Evesham, which held the annual Pershore Plum Festival at the end of August, have warned that the season has been around a month shorter than normal as yields were hit by fewer blossoms and a large number of swollen and split fruits.

“We’ve had all the right weather, just not in the right order,” commented Gary Farmer from Vale Landscape Heritage Trust. “Instead of an ongoing crop of different varieties at different times of the summer, this weekend will see the plum season coming to an end a month early.

“Plums are a temperamental fruit, which might be one reason their popularity had dwindled. What’s more, weather conditions have fluctuated over the last few years, which means neither the trees, the pollinators nor the growers know how to adapt.”

Photo Credit: Pexels

The post Plums are latest crop to be affected by the weather appeared first on Hort News on 30 August 2018.

Industry getting ready for Fruit Focus

As preparations for Fruit Focus on 25th July continue, the event, which is expected to connect more than 1,300 visitors to over 120 exhibitors, says it will focus on the continued evolution of the UK fruit industry as it faces climate change, Brexit, new technology and irrigation challenges.

The event will give growers the chance to see the latest innovation in water use and irrigation in the Water Efficient Technologies (WET) Centre. Opened last year, it features a fully automated Precision Irrigation Package, which has proven to reduce the use of water, fertilisers, pesticides and energy by 20% while also delivering up to a 10% increase in strawberry yields. With new abstraction licenses on the horizon, the area is sure to be popular.

Event hosts NIAB EMR will also be holding a forum looking at precision growing of soft fruit, encompassing new innovations and technologies to enhance crop productivity, resilience and quality. The ever-popular research tours will include the research vineyard, WET centre and concept pear orchard. “NIAB EMR’s showpiece demonstration feature, the WET Centre, is in its first full year of production, and we are anticipating a heavy crop of Malling™ Centenary,” comments Prof Mario Caccamo, managing director at NIAB EMR.

Other attractions include the NFU Forum and tours looking at strawberry pollination and the ‘concept pear orchard.’ Tickets are on sale now.

Photo Credit: Fruit Focus

The post Industry getting ready for Fruit Focus appeared first on Hort News on 21 June 2018.

Top fruit sector calls for post-Brexit support

English Apples & Pears (EAP), the association for UK top fruit producers, has said that the government must continue to support fruit growers after the UK leaves the EU.

In its submission to Defra’s Health and Harmony consultation, the group called for, ‘A more enabling and holistic regulatory framework for the approval of plant-protection products and to provide parity for UK growers with EU growers before we leave the EU.’ It also called for support for new varietal development, saying that this would help to ‘bolster plant health and pest and disease resistance.’

Overall EAP set out 12 points for action, including continued support for Producer Organisations, labour availability and health & sustainability. EAP chairman Ali Capper commented, “We are asking government to urgently support policy and campaigns that will increase the consumption of British-grown apples and pears. British orchards are capable of delivering public good – it’s good for the environment and the fruit produced is good for the nation’s health too. We’re ambitious to grow the size of the British crop. We know this is possible but we will need action in key areas in order to make this happen.”

Photo Credit: Wye Fruit

The post Top fruit sector calls for post-Brexit support appeared first on Hort News on 17 May 2018.

Ali Capper is new executive chair at EAP

Worcestershire grower Ali Capper has been announced as the new executive chair of trade organisation English Apples & Pears.

Ms Capper, who grows top fruit and hops, and is the current chair of the NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board, will take up the restructured role from outgoing chief executive Steven Munday.

Ali said, “I’m very excited about joining EAP as their new executive chair. I’m passionate about the top fruit industry and as a grower myself I understand the issues and the opportunities that face us. I’m looking forward to working with the EAP board and our new services providers to provide a best-value solution to our grower shareholders”.

A spokesperson for EAP added, “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Steven for all his hard work in delivering our modernisation programme which has put EAP in a much better position to concentrate on the important elements of working on behalf of our growers. It is now clear that we need someone who has an empathy for the industry and who is an experienced and successful lobbyist and we believe that Ali is a perfect fit for this role.”

Going forward EAP will Richmond & Towers to deliver PR and the British Growers Association to perform back-office functions.

Photo Credit: NFU

The post Ali Capper is new executive chair at EAP appeared first on Hort News on 8 March 2018.

UK apple growers approaching labour ‘cliff edge’

As the British apple season gets into full swing, producers have reiterated concerns about the availability of labour and the potential impacts on the future of the UK fruit industry.

“All British apples are picked by hand, which means that the harvest from orchards is highly labour-intensive,” Steven Munday, chief executive of English Apples and Pears told The Guardian. “We’re working hard with the National Farmers’ Union and other bodies to lobby for access to the required seasonal labour after Brexit.”

John Hardman of labour provider Hops added, “We have managed to scrape by this year but 2018 is going to be a cliff edge. Apples and pears are a particular problem because it’s such a short season – typically six weeks, which means we cannot attract UK workers because of the welfare system.”

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The post UK apple growers approaching labour ‘cliff edge’ appeared first on Hort News on 28 Sept 2017.

All-new Landini orchard/vineyard tractors for National Fruit Show

An all-new range of Landini orchard and vineyard tractors will be launched at the National Fruit Show in October.

The new Rex 4 Series tractors bring a greater choice of models, new transmission configurations (including three-speed powershift on power shuttle versions) an improved operator environment in the new cab and optional front axle suspension for the first time. They can be recognised by a sleek new appearance.

In terms of overall size, base configurations and power outputs, the new Landini Rex 4 Series mirrors the current Rex. The ‘F’ models are narrow orchard tractors (down to 1.3m wide), the ‘GE’ versions (minimum operating width 1.35m) have a have a lower stance for added stability, and the ‘GT’ has the wider axles and larger wheel options suitable for wide orchards. In addition, the new ‘V’ models can be configured down to just 1m wide.

A 2.9-litre compact four-cylinder engine provides the power, meeting emissions rules without exhaust filtration or urea injection. It provides 12-15% more torque at the lower end, which the manufacturer says translates into livelier performance under load with attractive fuel economy. The engine is coupled to a new Eco 40kph transmission with four-speed PTO options. Larger fuel tanks, the option of a suspension front axle, and all new cab layouts complete the revamp.

Photo Caption: The new Rex 4 Series vineyard models can get down to 1m yet there is a 111hp version

Photo Credit: Landini

Bumper fruit year coincides with labour shortages

Excellent growing conditions have provided a bumper crop of UK soft fruit this season, but industry organisation British Summer Fruits warns that Brexit means that many growers are struggling to harvest the volume.

“We have been experiencing bumper crops across both strawberries and cherries this year,” said a spokeswoman for British Summer Fruits. Tesco is among retailers who have reported increased sales of British grown fruit from strawberries through to cherries and apricots, and has introduced larger pack sizes to help suppliers move unexpected large volumes of product.

However, growers are reporting a shortage of migrant workers available for fruit picking and grading. Jack Ward, chief executive of British Growers told journalists, “The labour situation has definitely tightened in the last 15 months. It is more difficult and more costly to recruit people. There are fewer returners and the age profile, generally, is going up amongst seasonal labour. I think younger people are more prepared to go and do other things.

“If you wound the clock back 10 years, it would have been the younger people who pioneered the idea of coming from Lithuania or Romania or Bulgaria or the Czech Republic to pick fruit.

“I think what you are finding is that a lot of businesses are spending a lot more time recruiting than they have in previous years. They have got to work a lot harder to attract people.” He added that high levels of employment (the highest since 1971) also meant that there are insufficient numbers of British workers to replace EU labour, even if they could be persuaded to pick the crops.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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Apples top the fresh produce charts

Trade magazine Fresh Produce Journal has announced that dessert apples have once again topped its annual survey of the most important fresh produce lines in the UK in terms of sales value.

According to the FPJ apple sales grew 5.6 per cent in terms of value last year despite a drop in volume of 2.2 per cent. The magazine says that further growth is expected in the category.

The survey, which is carried out in conjunction with Kantar Worldpanel put grapes in second place, followed by tomatoes, bananas and strawberries. While soft fruit and salad vegetables performed well in general, the value of cherries and parsnips both fell over the last 12 months.

“The past year has been a turbulent one for the fresh produce trade, with Brexit raising major question marks and concerns about the future of the industry,” said FPJ Big 50 Products editor, Fred Searle. “For the time being, the sector is in healthy shape. While the supermarket price war continues to affect certain products, such as parsnips and carrots, in other categories growers have breathed a sigh of relief as some price inflation returns. This is a welcome development given the slower volume growth seen this time around.”

Photo Credit: Public Domain Pictures

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Late season cherries could be profitable

A report by 2016 Nuffield Scholar Jan Redpath of Angus Soft Fruits suggests that late season cherry production could provide a lucrative crop for Scottish growers prepared to invest in suitable production methods.

In Cherries: the late season opportunity, Mr Redpath argues that, ‘Late season cherries can be produced successfully and profitably in climates as demanding as Scotland’s.’ His conclusion comes after visiting growers in Chile, New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Canada and Norway, as well as closer to home in the UK and the Netherlands.

“Visits to Norway and Tasmania in particular showed that climatic adversity can be overcome with robust covering methods,” he explained. “Ongoing research in Europe and North America is likely to lead to better later varieties. I additionally noted that storage techniques exist that enable ‘not so late’ varieties of known potential to give a safe option to season extension.”

Mr Redpath added, “We should not be afraid to grow cherries under covering systems developed specifically for cherries – these have been proven in some demanding climates. New entrants to late cherry production must pay great attention to the pruning requirements, especially during tree formation. It’s vital to decide on a system prior to establishing the plantation, with an end in mind at that point. Lastly, we can grow great varieties that are known to work, and also store them well. This can be better than growing the very latest variety that may have other lesser characteristics and may not store so well.”

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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