Automation on agenda at bedding conference

On 18 January at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury, Northants, NN12 8QH WD Smith & Son director Mike Smith will chair the BPOA conference, with insight from North America and information on greenhouse automation two main themes.

Marketing in today’s fast paced world will be a talk by American grower Art van Wingerden of Metrolina Greenhouses in North Carolina, who will also speak on automation at his nursery and how UK growers can employ robotics to make production more efficient.

GROWBOT: A grower-programmable robot for ornamental plant production tasks is a talk from Dr Matthew Howard of Kings College London, while What can a robot do for you? Will be Professor Simon Pearson of University of Lincoln’s contribution.

Pentland Plants’ Jamie Satterthwaite will speak on his "adventures in America" from his tour to the US last year. The BPOA will again visit North America on 19-27 February.

Is Next Generation Grower only suitable for vegetables is a talk from Jon Swain of FEC.

Technical updates chaired by Cut Flower Centre’s Lyndon Mason will be on a year at the Bedding and Pot Plant Centre at Baginton Nurseries in Warwickshire from Dr Jill England & Chloe Whiteside (RSK ADAS) and an update on practical nursery biosecurity related to Xylella fastidiosa by Edward Birchall of APHA.

Mason will speak on production of column stocks using deep pool hydroponics, while Stockbridge Technology Centre’s Martin McPherson and RSK ADAS’s Jude Bennison will speak on managing ornamental plants sustainably (MOPS). Another acronym, AMBER, the five-year £1.15m AHDB-funded Application & Management of Biopesticides for Efficacy & Reliability project, is the subject of the talk by Dr Dave Chandler (University of Warwick).

Biological controls – a commercial perspective by Josh Burnstone of Fargro finishes the event.

The event is preceded on 17 January by the HTA Contact conference and APL Stone seminar at the same venue.

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