Get fruit crops in tip-top condition with the latest agronomy

Getting the best out of any crop requires care and attention from growers, but having the newest and best agronomic products can help tremendously.

All producers want to achieve a top quality product with a great yield, without damaging the environment or undercutting their gross margins. Fortunately, Fruit Focus has some of the newest and most innovative products on the market, from preventing pests and disease, to giving plants the perfect balance of nutrients for optimal growth.

“Being up-to-date with the latest developments and innovations allows growers to be at the top of their game in a competitive market,” says Jon Day, Fruit Focus event director. “As companies work to continually improve the products available to the horticultural industry, this can sometimes prove difficult to keep up with. Fruit Focus is the perfect opportunity for producers to explore a wide range of new products and practices, all in one place.”

For growers aiming to check out fungicides and insecticides, Bayer will be showcasing two new products at the event. Strawberry growers who suffer with powdery mildew and Botrytis will be able to learn all about Luna Sensation, Bayer’s new standard in fungicide management.

Apple growers have also been granted emergency access this year to Bayer’s insecticide, Movento Top, to control the woolly apple aphid. Movento Top has a proven track record for transforming sucking pest control in vegetable crops, and now orchards will be able to benefit from a 120-day authorisation.

Already well established for use across Europe, Bayer anticipates that Movento Top will gain full UK approval for the 2017 season, providing control of mussel scale, pear sucker, leaf curling midge and various mites, while on strawberries it will control glasshouse whitefly, thrips and mites.

Leaf-sucking pests cause damage to fruit crops by feeding on the plants and depriving them of nutrients. They can also often inflict secondary damage through the secretion of honeydew, which can cause black sooty mould to develop.

Strawberry, tomato and cucumber growers will therefore be very interested in the launch of Fargro’s latest bioinsecticide; FLiPPER. Able to protect crops from a wide range of leaf-sucking pests, it also has a leaf-washing action that prevents honeydews and sooty moulds from spreading to the fruit, without harming beneficial insects or pollinators.

Unlike conventional pesticides, FLiPPER comes from a natural and sustainable source as it is a by-product of extra-virgin olive oil production, says Joshua Burnstone at Fargro. “For growers looking to reduce their reliance on conventional pesticides, it provides an effective alternative for treating pests.”

Stimulating and maximising growth is another key area for producers to focus on, and one that newcomers to Fruit Focus, Amtech Amenity, are looking to fulfil with two new products on show.

The first, Chitonaze, is a marine based foliar fertiliser that is entirely environmentally friendly. Its active ingredient, a plant biostimulant, is the only one on the market with official EU approval. “It works by stimulating a plant’s natural self-defence against pests and disease, in turn allowing the plant a greater opportunity to grow without extra fertilisers,” explains Andrew Turnbull at Amtech.

Also on offer is Calstim, a calcium based formulation that, unlike many other calcium products, leaves no residue to block up water systems. “The calcium also has increased bio-availability to the plant, meaning it can move more freely within the plant and increase uptake,” adds Mr Turnbull.

Increasing the photosynthetic potential of fruit plants to maximise chlorophyll production can help producers grow fruit crops more sustainably, something Engage Agro has targeted with its latest Bio-Chel Fe Granular. This new super soluble granular iron utilises unique, organic, non-polluting chelated iron. Designed to break down faster in the rootzone, it will provide 10% Fe and can be taken up by crops at higher rates, whether grown in soil or substrates.

The solubility of this granular product is its real selling point on its predecessor powder, says Mark Horner, commercial director at Engage Agro Europe. “I have been present at many of the trials across Europe and have been impressed with the new technology’s ability to maximise the iron content of crops without damaging chelate accumulation in soils and ground water seen with other chelates. I am so pleased that growers will finally have the chance to see this new formulation in action.”

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