Leading Innovation at the National Fruit Show - Mike Hutchinson - South East Farmer

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Innovation, innovation, innovation is our constant and on-going theme at Hutchinsons.  We pride ourselves in the high calibre and top skills of our agronomists as well as offering an excellent agronomic package to UK fruit growers, says director, Mike Hutchinson.

Our focus at this year’s National Fruit Show will be to demonstrate these technologies while showcasing our top-class agronomy services.

Fruit Vision is a ground-breaking system that accurately counts and grades apples providing yield analysis in-situ, and will be on offer for growers in 2019.  Using Fruit Vision, growers will be able to plan their harvest more effectively and their crop forecast should be more accurate overall.

The system allows intelligent and informed decision – making by the fruit grower such as verifying fruit thinning accuracy as well as counting fruit during the growth period right up to harvest.

Fruit Vision takes 20 images per second and calculates the yield and sizes of apples to great accuracy.  Extensive trials in New Zealand, Holland, USA and the UK means that the many challenging practical hurdles in developing such as innovative system have been identified and overcome.

Many current orchard systems fail to intercept a proportion of available light which impacts on yields; Hutchinson Enhanced Light Interception Orchard System (HELIOS) is a ground-breaking 10-year project that sets out to explore the question of how different canopy, support systems and tree architecture can be improved to capture more sunlight and increase yield.

The project consists of two trial orchards of Gala planted this spring in East Kent and Herefordshire, and will also examine establishment costs, whilst recognising the role of future developments in mechanisation such as robotic picking and mechanical pruning.

We welcome visitors to our stand No K21 in the Mainstone Hall to discuss these technologies and our specialist fruit agronomy services.