Forum finds producers proactive

A study by the National Horticultural Forum (NHF) into industry uptake of research-led innovations in production systems and crop protection has shown that producers have been quick to adopt the latest solutions.

However, it warned that the "wholesale changes in the organisation and funding of applied crop research" over the past few years and the lengthy time frames in which new science was developed were likely to have an impact on this innovation pipeline over the next decade.

The study highlighted how companies involved in strawberry production had responded to strong market signals to provide dramatic increases in production over a greatly extended season.

The science behind these changes encompassed engineering, chemistry, entomology, plant pathology, crop nutrition and genetics.

The report noted that: "Tracking the science as it moves into practice shows the pivotal role of the relationships and expertise residing both in industry and public sector research."

The study has been presented to the Food Research Partnership, which is looking at translating research into practice.

NHF chair Andrew Colquhoun said: "The industry has a track record of taking up new science and the cross-Government programme on research underpinning food security should ensure that horticulture has a high priority."

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