Nestling in the Lea Valley in Essex, Valley Grown Nurseries (VGN) are UK Salad Grower of the Year 2017. Having recently completed a £10m+ investment in an iconic 92,000 m2 state-of-the-art sustainable glasshouse and other facilities, the company has a well-earned reputation for investment and innovation − embracing the latest production technologies to remain at the forefront of the UK fresh produce industry.
General manager, Andy Franklin, puts his trust in Maxifort. ‘It delivers endurance for the crop, promoting vigour and longevity as well as resistance to fusarium, verticillium and corky root rot,’ he says. ‘Since grafting on to Maxifort we’ve experienced no root disease issues or associated nutrient deficiency problems in the crop.’
Maxifort for continuous yield
“This year we’re exclusive growing a new flavoursome cherry on the vine variety for Waitrose. Last year we trialed Maxifort on a 4,000 m2 (0.4 ha) area. This year we’re growing 20,000 m2 (1.5 ha) of that variety and it’s imperative we get it right. We’ve therefore selected Maxifort − the market leading rootstock.
‘Compared to say cucumbers, tomatoes are a long crop,’ explains Andy. ‘This year planting was delayed until February, however, in future we plan to start earlier in December. With the help of Maxifort, we expect the crop to continue to yield top quality fruit through to November.
It’s all about taste
‘At VGN taste really is king,’ he says. ‘By carefully monitoring and raising electrical conductivity (EC) levels in the substrate we can manipulate the crop to get better flavour. With this flavourful new variety we’re looking for Brix levels of 9-11.’
Play it safe with Maxifort
‘However, raising EC generally has a negative impact on plant vigour. Of course, overall vigour is key when it comes to consistent quality and total yield. To compensate, we’re not taking any chances and have put our trust in Maxifort to deliver the stamina and endurance the crop needs.’
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