Looking ahead from our new Business Development Manager
Chris Delf writes “Since joining CHAP on January 7th 2019, I have been completely overwhelmed by the depth of research capabilities that are already in use and mostly unseen by a large part of the agricultural industry. Farm businesses are so focussed on the day to day activities (and the weather) that much of the science in action in the field is taken for granted.
Whilst the last 30 years have seen great improvements in productivity from new pesticides, improved varieties, bigger machines and better understanding of techniques, it is now quite obvious that we have reached a plateau in productivity, particularly in arable crops.
One area of increased interest is soil health and the concept that improving soil health will lead to better crops as well as providing environmental benefits. There are many new biostimulant products coming to the market which appear to have positive benefits on plant health and growth, and offer the possibility of reducing dependence on mineral based fertilisers and pesticides.
However, until we can determine how and why these products are affecting the plant physiology they will remain underutilised and possibly undervalued. The way forward is for suppliers to subject their products to independent testing to see if their potential can be fully realised”.
Vertical farming is a relative newcomer to the agricultural industry, the idea having been first proposed in the late 20th century by Dickson Despommier, a professor of public health at Columbia University