Fruit Focus LIVE Day One webinars provide valuable insight for growers

Due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, Fruit Focus has shifted to an online format to be held at www.fruitfocus.co.uk on 9-10 September 2020.  Fruit Focus LIVE will bring together expert speakers, researchers and companies related to the field for two days of live webinars, Q&As and new product innovations. The event will explore valuable solutions and opportunities for fruit growers and the supporting community.

Recognising and celebrating 2020 as International Year of Plant Health, Day One of Fruit Focus LIVE kicks off with a webinar on “Non-native pests threatening fruit crops”.  In this webinar, Dr. Rachel Yale, Plant Health Specialist, Risk and Horizon Scanning, Animal and Plant Health, DEFRA, will explain how the UK Plant Health Service identifies non-native pests threats and prioritises them. A number of pests that pose a specific threat to the UK fruit industry will be introduced, along with measures that are being put in place to prevent their introduction, as well as ensuring their impact is minimised should they reach the UK. This presentation is part of the NFU Fruit Forum series and will be followed by morning webinars.

At noon, Debbie Rees, Researcher at the Produce Quality Centre (PQC) will discuss innovations in the handling and storage of perishable produce, discussing how the Produce Quality Centre operates and looking at the results of industry-funded projects they have undertaken.

The afternoon of Day One will include a double session on “UK Viticulture on the rise”.  The quality of UK wines has dramatically increased this past decade, and further improvements in viticulture will enable the production of the finest quality, globally-recognised, unique wines and an increase in winemakers’ margins.  Join Dr. Julien Lecourt to discuss several key topic including Resource Efficiency for Crop Production, Genetics & Crop Improvement and Pest & Pathogen Ecology for Sustainable Crop Management. You will also be taken on a virtual tour of the concept vineyard that Dr. Lecourt and his team oversee.

The second part of the UK Viticulture programme will be a webinar entitled the “Digital Vineyard” which is an innovative software platform to collect, present and manage data to support vineyards. The application of artificial intelligence and data-driven technologies such as machine learning are poised to revolutionise agriculture. The use of automation in farming operations and the deployment of technologies driven by the analysis of vast datasets will transform our approach to growing horticulture crops and help to address some of the current challenges such as labour shortages and the effective management of marketable production. NIAB EMR partners with ABACO, a leader in land management systems with more than 30 years of experience, on this important project.  The session will be co-hosted by Mario Caccamo, Managing Director, NIAB EMR and Damien Powell, Managing Director, ABACO UK.

The schedule for Day Two is due to be released next week.

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