Professor Geoff Dixon
Professor Geoff Dixon is managing director of GreenGene International. He is a consultant and author and senior research fellow at the University of Reading’s Centre for Horticulture & Landscape.
Britain enjoys and hates its weather. Our Atlantic highs and lows usually deliver periods of rain or sunshine. Occasionally, the jet stream shifts, providing intense Arctic cold or southern European heat.
Horticulture Week's careers guide (HW, April 2018) is a revealing insight into what constitutes "a horticulturist". Horticulture is a coherent discipline.
Blue Planet II eloquently showed the rich tapestry of life in the oceans. It also focused public awareness on plastic pollution damaging wildlife.
Whitehall wants more home production of fresh produce. That's very welcome. Horticulture is a can-do industry and will react positively. In ramping-up production, increases in basic resources are needed. Seed suppliers want advance warning by at least one season of higher demand.
Continuous food supplies are cornerstones of social well-being. Even minor blips like last winter's disruption of fresh produce supplies from Iberia become "media disasters".
Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, S. minor and S. trifoliorum particularly affecting legumes such as green, broad and faba beans.
Horticulture is typified by innovative thinking. Leaders in change are producers of fresh produce propelled by cost reductions and price stagnation.
Seaweed extracts are valuable promoters of biocontrol. They stimulate benign soil and foliar microbes, which help repel plant pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
Titles mean a lot. When Defra was formed in 2001, "agriculture" was deleted from its title. Environment, food and rural affairs were then fashionable terms. Agriculture, in the widest sense including horticulture, was politically very unfashionable. Hence Great Britain became one of very few countries where the essential rural industry and dominant formative landscape force was lost.
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