Company Name: AHDB

Introduction to the company

AHDB funds near-market research projects on behalf of UK soft fruit growers to find solutions to production problems. Our research portfolio includes work on the breeding and development of new strawberry and raspberry varieties, pest, disease and weed control, labour utilisation, harvest efficiency and resource use efficiency including irrigation and nutrition.

Why the company is interested in the WET Centre

Since 1987, UK soft fruit growers have been funding research projects to solve their production problems, initially through the HDC and now through the AHDB. Despite delivering useful results, sometimes the uptake can be rather slow, so AHDB is increasingly developing demonstration sites to put results into commercial practice.

AHDB has funded several research projects on water and fertiliser use efficiency in container grown soft fruit crops. Led by Dr Mark Else at NIAB EMR, these have developed modern growing techniques, which can save considerably on water use and fertiliser costs. AHDB is therefore delighted to support the WET Centre at East Malling to demonstrate these techniques in commercial practice. We will be working closely with the other funders to raise the profile of the centre and make the modern technology conspicuous to soft fruit growers. We trust that this will lead to the more rapid adoption of the research, which growers have helped to fund.

AHDB funds near market research to maintain profitability in the UK soft fruit industry

Our research at NIAB EMR has increased water use efficiency in soft fruit crops

Our projects led by Dr Mark Else have:

  • Reduced water and fertiliser use in bag-grown strawberry
  • Developed EC set points for strawberry varieties
  • Maintained high yields of berries with improved flavour
    and shelf-life
  • Led to the development of precision irrigation technologies
    used by commercial growers