Production in the UK horticulture sector is under pressure to maximise the efficiency of water, nutrient and energy use. This is in part to drive economic returns but also to reduce the environmental impact of production.

We are well placed to offer a range of consultancy and R&D-based solutions for any grower seeking to improve resource use efficiency.

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Water and nutrition

Our FACTS-qualified experts offer a wide range of support for nutrition management in both field and protected cropping. This can include:

  • interpretation and use of soil test results,
  • rotation planning,
  • deficiency management
  • the application of innovative crop monitoring and
  • fertiliser use, including foliar nutrient sprays and biostimulants.

When it comes to nutrition management advice, our research experience is extensive. In conjunction with AHDB, we updated RB209 guidance for niche crops. We have also worked directly with growers to develop specialist crop nutrient management plans.

Our Plant Clinic provides specialist diagnostic services for suspected nutrient deficiencies. Expert advice on regulatory and customer requirements can also be provided for niche crops. For example managing nitrate and chlorate levels in leafy salads to comply with Food Standards Agency standards.

We are also experts in nutrition management for hydroponic crops, such as soft fruit grown under plastic and protected tomato and leafy salads. This can include the development of feed programs based on local water quality and growing requirements.

Resource provision

The use of supplementary lighting provision in the protected edibles sector has shown strong growth in recent years. With a range of systems and lighting strategies available, it can be difficult for growers to identify the best strategy for their crops. We can advise on lighting system choice and crop management strategies for lit and overwintered crops such as tomato and protected lettuce.

We can also help mitigate against the risks of lighting-based quality loss and develop bespoke evidence-based strategies for optimum lighting management.

Climate and CO2

Climate management and CO2 enrichment are now commonplace in the protected edibles sector for the UK. However, there are still significant opportunities for growers seeking to install and optimise the use of these approaches.

Crop management (including pest/disease mitigation), the economic viability of CO2 enrichment (including management linked with supplementary lighting) can benefit from bespoke solutions. Our experts are available to support all stages of the design and implementation process.