Further details have emerged of new products and services being showcased at the Fruit Focus trade show on 22 July.
Agronomy services provider Hutchinsons will show its Omnia nutrient decision and precision farming support system, now extended into fruit. Horticultural technical manager Dr Jonathan Blackman said: "It is already being used widely and successfully in arable crops and we are compiling the fruit data parameters so that our fruit growers can benefit from it next season."
The firm's Omnia Fruit Vision "can accurately count and grade apples and provide yield analysis in situ". Mounted on a quad bike moving through the crop, it takes 20 images per second then uses them to calculate yield and fruit size, supporting the grower's decision making. A fully supported service is planned for 2016.
Two new John Deere speciality tractors, the 5GF and 5GL models, will debut on the Burden Bros Agri stand. The series has been designed to provide comfort, power, hydraulic performance and manoeuvrability in orchards, vineyards and other applications that require a narrow tread width.
ICL Specialty Fertilizers, formerly Everris, will present two new foliar fertilisers. "Calcium+ contains a blend of Ca combined with amino acids, plant sugars, lignates and an industry-leading surfactant to facilitate absorption through the leaf epidermis," explained speciality agriculture manager Scott Garnett.
Intended for periods of plant stress caused by environmental factors and pesticide application, Total+ provides plants with NPK along with chelated zinc and manganese and a seaweed extract biostimulant. ICL will also show Cilus Plus from Lallemand that helps fruit crops take up phosphorus.
Engage Agro Europe will launch Sion, a new silicon nutrient for foliar and irrigated application that is intended to increase the strength, growth and health of crops by boosting plant cell strength and development.
In growing media, Cocogreen will launch its H2CoCo wetting agent for use with coir. Sales and marketing director Thomas Ogden said: "It enables a 1m growbag to be rehydrated and ready to plant within an hour, making compressed coir growbags a highly attractive option." By creating less run-off it reduces required irrigation levels, he added.
In addition, Brown Grow, a Sri Lanka-based coir supplier new to the UK, will be showing its organic cube for young plants, Bronze growbags for soft fruit and Silver growbags for glasshouse vegetables.
Dutch supplier Legro has developed a coir substrate containing perlite, Coir Air-Line, which has been designed to promote second-phase growth of strawberry and raspberry root systems following first harvest.
On produce containers, Beekenkamp is introducing a 40-hole strawberry tray it has developed with an Italian strawberry plant raiser that is intended to keep plants well clear of the ground. With standard dimensions, it is designed with automated processes in mind.
It will also present a 2.4-litre pot for raspberry propagation. With raised legs, it also keeps plants clear of contact with the ground and can be used multiple times if handled with care, said the Dutch manufacturer.
On the expanding viticulture side of the show, Core Equipment will display its range of winemaking materials including yeasts, activators, enzymes and clarifiers for sparkling wine producers from Italian supplier Vason Juclas, for which it has just been appointed as UK agent.
An updated Fruit Focus forum programme will include AHDB Horticulture chairman Gary Taylor examining how the needs of the horticulture industry can be linked with what he describes as "the large amounts of money at the basic end of the research spectrum". Sainsbury's technical head of fresh foods Beth Hart will discuss how the UK produce sector can raise quality to better meet consumer demand.