Knowledge transfer key to successful veg growing


Knowledge transfer key to successful veg growing

Be open-minded, adaptable and creative, is the message from Nottinghamshire grower Philip Lilley, as he prepares to supply the nation with Christmas dinner veg.

“Battling with challenging weather conditions and constantly changing plant protection product approvals means we need to be agile and use all the tools available to us,” said Philip, Crop Production Manager of T Hammond Farms.

Juggling a wide range of crops including parsnips, potatoes, carrots, savoy cabbage, pointed cabbage, collards, kale and rhubarb, as well as combinable crops, means keeping up to date with legislation is key to the farm maintaining a continuous supply of quality produce to retail and food manufacturing customers.

Philip, who looks after 800ha of cropping, said: “With industry price pressure, it’s vital that we can produce an economically viable crop whilst staying on top of regulatory changes, so receiving the latest information and technical support is crucial.”

Taking on the role of knowledge transfer is Agrovista Vegetable Agronomist, Nick Harris. Working with T Hammond Farms for the past two years, he supplies additional technical support, ensuring a two-way information flow and open communication.

Philip added: “I believe we benefit from a variety of sources of knowledge and Nick brings this to the table with an outside view. He encourages discussion to support us growing the best quality produce, he communicates the latest industry changes from the Agrovista technical teams, as well as pulling on information from other parts of the country.

“We know how to grow veg, but we want to grow it better and this is where Nick helps. His herbicide suggestions informed by the results of his small plot trials, some of which we inspect together, have been very useful this year owing to the loss of key active ingredients.”

With a passion for staying ahead of the curve, Nick instigates the herbicide trials to supplement his existing knowledge with new insight, including trialling innovative products such as biostimulants.

Nick, who joined Agrovista in 2013, said: “The small-scale field trials that I run regionally help to support my growers in a sector with limited chemical options, as I can try something new that is site-specific on their behalf, and then share the findings.

“T Hammond Farms has been a customer of Agrovista for 20 years, but it’s during the past two years or so that we’ve built a good working partnership.

“As we embrace one of the busiest times of year for veg growers, it’s fantastic to see Philip and the team successfully harvest some top quality produce that consumers will enjoy throughout the Christmas period.”

You can read this update from Agrovista on TFF's AGVendor...

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...