25 August 1995

Collaboration is strongpoint

COLLABORATION to produce rapid results and spread trials information to growers is of growing importance at ITCF. And the idea that all work should be confined to France is outdated, Mr Lescar believes.

"There are a lot of possibilities for collaborative research abroad. We try to ensure that each of our researchers has at least one contact in the UK, for example at Rothamsted, Long Ashton, Silsoe, ADAS Cambridge, NIAB, and Morley."

Most of these are informal, but there are more formal links with the latter and with the Home-Grown Cereals Authority.

He points to a joint HGCA project to unravel the precise causes of sprouting in cereals. Working alongside bodies such as the SAC should provide growers with a "priority" harvesting list, according to variety and climatic conditions, from "Scotland to south-west France".

Relatively short-term

Most ITCF experiments currently undertaken are relatively short term.

"We dont start anything unless we expect to get good results within three to four years," comments Mr Lescar.

Ensuring the research messages are relayed accurately is the function of the monthly magazine Perspectives Agricoles. Written by the researchers themselves, it goes to 10,000 subscribers, about half of them farmers.

"All our publications are sold," says Mr Lescar. But the Perspectives Agricole cover price of 55Ff (£7.30) reflects only the production cost, he maintains. A wide range of other husbandry booklets and leaflets are produced. A summary of regional information on cereal varieties – the equivalent of NIABs Cereal Variety Handbook, for example, costs 25 francs (£3.30).

Spelling it out in detail. ITCFleaflets give growers highly specific information on pesticides.