Horticulture Strategic Farms - Innovation Hub: To undertake a programme of work designed to identify and deliver practical, adoptable solutions to address a range of technical and cultural issues identified by growers: Questions & Answers

A: No. The current variety trials are conducted on sites selected specifically for that crop.  This needs to be continued in the future. Trials need to be conducted to a similar or higher standard than those in place at the moment. Links to the current variety trials can be found in the call. For each crop, KE activities need to follow the same model as in previous years.

A: The variety trials for each crop will form the foundation for work going forward.  Future work should be conducted using a similar model to that in place at the moment, which is crop specific; to a similar or higher standard. Check the current projects for details (links are in the call). The onion project comprises proportionally more of the budget than other crop trials because it incorporates storage as well as fieldwork.

There is a contractual advantage in re-procuring this work. The variety trials form the core of the work.  Other work within AHDB using a similar model, but different approaches, are the two ornamentals centres, which incorporate disease trials, and the strategic arable farms.

A: Onion and carrot, brassica and vining pea variety trials are all conducted at the moment.  Links to information on current variety trials is included in the call. Locations are selected on the basis of the best soil type for that crop and growers who volunteer to host the trials, which is decided by the relevant grower group and AHDB. This new initiative focuses on crops with an established history of successful variety trials, however our longer term vision is to support other field vegetable crop species. 

A:  Absolutely- this gives added value, and should reflect the grower to grower learning experience aimed at in this call. Add-on work can start on January 1st 2019. (Consult the call for budgets).

A: Diseases which affect the variety trial should be monitored. However, specific disease evaluations may not be compatible with variety trials. In addition, some diseases, such as Fusarium, may constitute a quarantine risk and would need containment and/or special measures to avoid spread. Specific add-on disease trials may be appropriate in a suitable location.

A: Demonstrating disease incidence is not necessary.  These are variety trials. Open Days should be arranged at the part of the crop cycle which best shows differences between varieties to the audience and ideally should be complementary to SCEPTREplus Open Days  (and add-on activities if possible), so that growers can see a range of trials on the same day.

A: Club root is a disease with similar quarantine issues.

A: An Evaluation Plan is important and should be included for each work package.

A: Link up with SCEPTREplus is an important part of Innovation hub activities.  It is essential that they are complementary.  During 2018 Open Days for both projects were held on the same day and at the same site, where logistically possible.  Full details of the SCEPTREplus project are online.

A: For pea root rots, many growers have fields which are already affected.  The specific pathogen causing the disease would need to be sampled and quantified.  Conversations with Legume Panel members are encouraged.

A: Activities should be discussed with AHDB and the Field Vegetable Panel sub-committee before inclusion in the project.  British Growers (British Carrot Growers Association), for example organise the carrot variety trials and the demonstration day. The onion variety trials have a project steering group comprised of BOPA and AHDB members. For other variety trials there are industry representatives (see AHDB project site for further details), and the work will be guided by the crop’s grower group. Grower feedback is an essential part of this KE activity.