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The English Apple Man


28th Jul 2017 - The English Apple Man has been very busy in Kent and West Midlands

Last week The English Apple Man attended Fruit Focus and reported some of 'the action' and this week's Journal will include more from Fruit Focus........this week The EAM has been in the West Midlands visiting growers in Gloucester, Hereford, Worcestershire and Shropshire....which will be reported fully over the next few weeks!

Before reviewing more of the action from Fruit Focus, my visit to 'West Mids' was as a guide to a group of 30 German Fruit Growers from The Lake Constance region of Southern Germany......popularly known as 'Bodensee' (it means bottom Sea)


Lake Constance is central Europe's third largest freshwater lake, and at its widest point, nearly 14 km (8.7 mi).


Below: The German Fruit Growers Group with Michael and Chrissy Bentley at Castle Farm, Newent in Gloucestershire....



Below: Manuela Schielin presents Michael and Chrissy Bentley with a gift of apple & pear schnapps from Bodensee



At Fruit Focus on Wednesday 19th July: N.P.Seymour were showing many of their latest machinery offers: in an extract from the N.P.Seymour website the star attraction demonstrated the future potential of driverless tractors: Nick Seymour comments; "Our Fendt driverless tractor with Precision Makers add-on package will be demonstrating in the ring. This fully autonomous tractor works on a 'Teach and Playback' system and you simply record a task as you carry out and it remembers every movement and operation and then it can be replayed time and time again. We now have two of these autonomous tractors out working on fruit farms"


On the following Saturday 22nd July, The English Apple Man and his 'Lady' attended the wedding blessing of Nick & Barbara Seymour's daughter Claire and Steve Bowles - the happy couple had married on a beach in Greece with Claire's children present and renewed their vows in a blessing in their garden, accompanied by the children who read a 'delightful poem' as part of the blessing formalities......


Below: Claire and Steve during the blessing and Claire's children read their poem...



Below: 'time for the Confetti' and Cutting the Wedding Cake....



Below: 'Proud Father' Nick Seymour and 'the Hog Roast' approaching 'serving'



The Seymour Family - Group picture.....





More from Fruit Focus


NIAB/EMR were hosts to the Fourth International Horticulture Research Conference, which was held on July 16 - 20, 2017 at East Malling. The conference was hosted by NIAB EMR and Horticulture Research, the journal jointly published by Nanjing Agricultural University and Springer Nature.


The WET Center was high on the list for the Conference Delegates to visit and Fruit Focus visitors also took advantage of viewing the latest cutting edge research. Two identical 'Commercial Tunnels' housed the Strawberry trial. One tunnel housed Strawberries growing with the current 'best practice' procedures, while the second tunnel is planted with the same plants in CocoGreen, with soil moisture sensors in the bags delivering accurate moisture profile data, which in turn allows computer controlled accuracy to the plants via 'high precision drip nozzles' additionally the automated 'venting system' keeps the air quality at the optimum level for plant health.


WET Centre, an integrated portfolio of high performance, 'state-of-the-art' trickle irrigation technologies and systems for the soft fruit sector, being established at NIAB EMR, will be launched at Fruit Focus on 19 July 2017. The facility is being developed alongside the project's commercial partners; Berry Gardens Growers, Delta T Devices, Netafim UK, New Leaf Irrigation and CocoGreen presents, with further strategic support from Meiosis, Kent County Council and LEAF.


In its maiden year, visitors will see a commercial scale demonstration that, on the light of the oncoming Water Abstraction Licence Reform - which will increase the financial burden on trickle irrigation growers - will showcase a unique solution to improve water use efficiency, reduce costs and achieve industry leading yields and returns while serving as platform and reference for learning and discussion.


The WET Centre will initially focus on soft fruit, but will expand to tree fruit and salad crop sectors, as well as other reliable technologies all aimed at creating and promoting improved sustainability and profitability in the horticulture industry.


Below: one of the WET Centre trial tunnels



Below: Extracts from NIAB/EMR website


Mark Else's research focuses on understanding and manipulating crop and environmental interactions to improve resource-use efficiency, marketable yields and quality of fresh produce.


A major focus of his research is the development and integration of precision irrigation and fertigation systems into commercial production to help improve on-farm efficiency, productivity and consistency of produce quality.


Antonio Llorente Garcia assists with product development for East Malling Services (EMS), the commercial subsidiary of EMR.


He works with a team that uses knowledge and technologies arising from research carried out at EMR, to develop new products for the horticultural sector. His main role lies in ensuring that the products developed match with the customers' requirements.


Below: Antonio Llorente Garcia and Dr.Mark Else



NETAFIM The leading Global supplier of 'micro irrigation systems' supplied the irrigation equipment for the trial......



Below: left; WET Center table top strawberries and right; Automated venting





Commenting on the unveiling of the new UK Centre for Water Efficient Technologies (WET) by NIAB EMR at Fruit Focus today, Thomas Ogden says; "We are delighted to be an industry partner in this exciting new project. While helping to fund it, Cocogreen is also contributing the high performance coir substrates."


Below: Strawberries in CocoGreen growbags



ICL/FAST Trial Presentations


Below: On a warm 'humid' evening; a welcome 'refreshing drink' from the Brogdale Farm 'Fine Fruits' Juice range; the Black Cherry Juice really impressed the English Apple Man's 'taste buds' .........


On Tuesday of last week (18th July) The English Apple Man attended trials at Brogdale Farm Co-hosted by FAST and ICL, Fruit Science Live took place on the eve of Fruit Focus, involving FAST and ICL personnel. The ICL trials are managed on a 'daily basis' by FAST personnel.


There was far too much to fully report now; 'a more extensive report' will appear in future EAM Journals. But two particular trials caught the EAM's attention.


1. A plant age comparison on strawberry crops, comparing yields on newly planted, second and third year table-top June bearers using a Malling Centenary Strawberry trial, which focused on the possibility of taking the Centenary strawberries into a third cropping cycle. Crop 1 analyses the crop in year 1. The crop in year 2 and Finally in year 3. The thinking behind the trial takes account of Centenary's fruit size, which is naturally large (sometimes to large in year 1) and 'unusually' does not drop off much in years 2 & 3. The trial focuses on yield and fruit size analysis in year 2 and year 3 and the ability of the Coir substrate to 'hold up' during a three year crop cycle.


2. Scott Garnett, ICL Speciality Crops Manager looked at two separate trials on ICL's Agrolution range of fertilizers on strawberry and blueberry plants.


Below: left; Malling Centenary strawberry trial and right; Scott Garnett hosts the ICL Agrolution fertilizer trial......



That is all for this apologies for the late Publication.....the last few days have been very busy and very tiring for the '75 year old'.....English Apple Man.........beginning to feel my age!


Take care


The English Apple Man