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November 2014

HDC/IPPS Study Day 2014 ‘Innovation in Plant Production’

This year’ s HDC and IPPS Study day run in association with Fargro, GroSouth and West Sussex Nursery Stock Discussion Group attracted more than 100 participants from right across the UK. David Hide from Fargro’s technical department who was one of the key event co-ordinators described the day as having ‘easily matched last year’s levels of industry collaboration.’

The study day which took place in West Sussex on 11th November included nursery visits, a series of practical workshops and early evening grower talks. The day entitled ‘Innovation in plant production’ included three stand-out subjects, IPM, light manipulation and crop protection equipment application. These subjects were selected in order to reinforce the work currently being done by the HDC in these areas.

Nursery visits

The day began with tours round the Vitacress Herb unit and Hill Brothers’ new polythene greenhouses. Vitacress production manager Shane Makin and his team provided a detailed explanation of how to grow pot herbs under the most exacting of IPM plans, and attendees saw the first crop of herbs growing under both sodium and LED lighting. At Hill Brothers discussion focussed on the advantages of growing under polythene and the development of ebb and flood irrigation.

Practical workshops

In the afternoon a series of practical demonstrations took place at Roundstone’s Batchmere facilities. Here the focus was very much on crop protection equipment and how to improve application. Jim McAlpine and Mike Pendennis both of Fargro demonstrated the benefits of ULV fogging. While Vicki Wall from Spray CDA was on hand to put a range of Mankar herbicide applicators through their paces. She explained how this equipment allows the operator to apply herbicide at a rate of just 2L per hectare.

Mike Wainwright from Walberton nursery demonstrated the advantages of boom spraying and explained why they had asked Team Sprayer to manufacture a bespoke piece of equipment.

A third workshop was led by Bill Basford who is currently working on the HDC project in identifying application best practise within ornamental horticulture. This workshop focused on the fundamentals of achieving the best spray application and reinforced the importance of understanding spray quality and the need for calibration. Finally Fargro’s IPM specialist Neil Helyer described how to successfully apply nematodes through a dosatron and Hortipro’s Jerry Overweg introduced Mosskade, the new liverwort and moss killer.

Evening seminars

Finally the Group moved on to the Chichester Park Hotel for a series of Tea Time Talks. Here the themes of light manipulation and spray application were explored further. The list of the speakers and the title of their presentations was as follows:-
  • The Influence of light and the future of LEDs – Dr Phillip Davis (STC)
  • Plastic spectral filters –Les Lane (XL Horticulture)
  • Light manipulation using coatings – Paul van Gils (Mardenkro)
  • Spray application solutions – Bill Basford
Copies of the presentations are available from the HDC

IPPS President Les Lane and Katie Irgin HDC Research manager reflected on the significance of the day before attendees sat down to the pre- show dinner sponsored by GroSouth and XL Horticulture

Quote

Jim McAlpine MD Fargro who chaired the evening session commenting afterwards said ‘ There was a real energy to the day and it was so encouraging to see our industry come together in such a positive manner. We were pleased our staff at Fargro could play their part in this successful event. Our objective is to promote horticulture and our involvement in the Study Day which included a range of seminars and nursery visits ,the collaboration with GroSouth in its seminar content and Grow Careers our student initiative at the show , makes me feel that we are creating something special here in West Sussex.’