Archive Article: 1997/09/06

6 September 1997

DONT forget the BPC Potato Harvest 97 demo at Knettishall in Suffolk on 17-18 September. Compare 18 harvesters and nine grading lines as they lift and prepare an estimated 2,000t of Estima destined for Asda.

Inspect 100 varieties, old and new, from NIAB-managed variety plots which are on display. Staff are on hand to answer queries. And wander around two marquees with over 200 exhibitors. Entry is £6. For more information, call Kathy Chicken at the BPC on 01865 782260.

THE Institute of Barley has promoted winter varieties Regina and Gleam to full approval status for the central, south east and south west regions. Regina remains provisionally approved for the north east and north west.

THE Pesticides Safety Directorate and MAFF have published a leaflet Is Your Sprayer Fit for Work? which includes a pre-season maintenance checklist. Call 0645 556000 for a free copy.

THE NFU Retailer Partnership has appointed the independent company Checkmate International to administer its Assured Produce Scheme and to verify producers achievement of the standards detailed by the scheme. Chairman of the Partnership, Mark Tinsley, hails the Oxford-based outfit as "a leading accreditation and verification organisation with significant experience in the food sector." Six thousand producers are expected to join the scheme after registration begins in October.

A PRECISION application service is offered by MSF. Based on differential GPS soil sampling, the package includes variable rate application of up to two types of fertiliser in one pass and variable rate lime applications.

NORTH Eastern Farmers, Scotlands largest agricultural supplies co-operative, has sold its foods division, Grampian Oat Products, to Morning Foods, the UKs largest independent processor of oat products. Growing contracts will continue to be available through NEF which will be the major supplier to the plant.

WHATS the latest in weed control in Germany? Sand. BTC Biotechnik claims that blasting weeds with sand breaks down the waxy leaf cuticle. As little as 10% of a recommended herbicide dose can be effective when a sand blaster is fitted to the spray boom. The BAA reports that the technique may be introduced to the UK; it is currently used in the garden and amenity sectors.

OVER the past decade, the number of people visiting farm parks has increased by nearly 60%, compared with a 10% rise in visits to other attractions such as museums or leisure centres, reports The Times in its business section. Britains 247 farm parks played host to more than 9m visitors last year – charging up to £5 per visit. Some turned over more than £1m.

CONGRATULATIONS to Roger Franklin (right) from Home Farm, Hillesden, Bucks. He receives a hamper courtesy of Seed Innovations contract manager Jonathan Wall for correctly matching seed to product in the Crops/Seed Innovations competition at Cereals 97.

The two runners-up were N.Wattam, Home Farm, Sturton, Brigg, North Lincs and J. Ireland, Petersham Farm, Holt, Wimborne, Dorset.

WORK on automatic disease detection and sorting systems for potatoes has earned Andrew Muir of SACs crop systems department a place in the finals of the 1997 National John Logie Baird Awards for Innovation.

His prototype technology interfaces a multispectral camera which scans in eight wavebands, both visible and near infrared, with a sorting conveyor system for automatic accept or reject of potatoes.

LEAF is increasing its membership rates from October. Individual rates increase from £20 to £30, and farmer group membership from £100 to £125.

WANT to know how to grow oats? Results from a comprehensive study of oats, funded by the HGCA, are available free – courtesy of Semundo – from HGCA, Hamlyn House, Highgate Hill, London N19 5PR.

VEGETABLE Focus, in association with the Horticultural Research Insitute and sponsored by Nickerson Zwaan and Midland Bank, takes place on Wednesday Sept 10 and Thursday Sept 11 at HRI, Kirton, Boston, Lincs.

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