14 February 1997

NIAB veg trials ballot held

ESCALATING costs of services run by the newly privatised National Institute of Agronomy and Botany has led horticulturists to hold a ballot over whether to continue to use its trials service.

The ballot was demanded by Horticultural Development Council board members after NIAB raised the annual cost of its field vegetable trial results service from £70,000 to £100,000.

Margaret Graham, HDC communications manager, said the price rise had come on top of other members concerns. "Over the years there have been a few rumblings in the field vegetable industry with respect to NIAB, questioning the relevance of theirmaterial.

"Larger growers tend to carry out their own trials, and if the money continues to go to NIABwe would lose £1m from other R&D projects," she added.

Mike Day, NIAB field vegetables trials spokesman, said the price had been frozen for several years, but the onset of privatisation had led to the rise.