Celebrating its 25th year, at its AGM last week, the British Independent Fruit Growers Association (BIFGA) heard about another anniversary, the 10th, since UK approval of apple-storage chemical SmartFresh.
"Each year we learn a bit more about it, so for growers it becomes a better tool as each year progresses," said Mark Tully, managing director of UK supplier Landseer.
Marketed worldwide by AgroFresh, SmartFresh works by blocking ethylene receptors in fruit. A soluble sugar-based powder formulation, it resembles ethylene enough to "fool" the fruit, without having the effect of causing it to over-ripen.
"It can control scald for six months under gas conditions, but for up to 12 months in scrubbed conditions if the harvest criteria are met, said Tully.
Landseer has built up an extensive database of more than 5,000 SmartFresh treatments over the past ten years, with fruit sampling giving indications of quality issues and seasonal risk factors.
"We are also increasingly drawing on international resources for technical advice," added Tully.
Cox has been a particular beneficiary of the treatment, he explained. "It has become more consistent and firmness isn't an issue - but you still have to be vigilant for internal issues post-January."
Nearly 100 people attended the British Independent Fruit Growers Association AGM, talks and farm walk. Founder and chairman John Breach, vice-chairman Clive Edmed and treasurer David Budd were all re-elected at the meeting.