HUB Of The Show – South East Farmer

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Alongside the fabulous displays of fruit, trade exhibitors put their heart and soul into showcasing their businesses and providing hospitality tor visitors at the National Fruit Show. South East Farmer Magazine proudly sponsors the trade stand awards, which were judged this year by Hugh Goldsworthy and Karen Wheeler from RAMSAK.

The 2013 overall best trade stand was awarded to agronomy firm Hutchinson, who is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Judges described the stand as the "real hub of the show" with a constant “buzz and energetic atmosphere” surrounding the newly designed space.

“We have always had this space at the show and this year we wanted to make the most of the height available," said Nick Rainsley, head of marketing at Hutchinson. “We wanted the stand to be open and welcoming, with plenty of space for people to sit and chat, while also explaining what we do.”

For the second year running, the 2018 best machinery stand was awarded to N P Seymour, who, according to the judges, provided the most diverse showcase of machinery and equipment for the horticultural and viticultural sectors.

Judges also commended the specialist machinery dealership for its thoughtful hospitality and interactive English wine tasting, which held in partnership with Vineyard Magazine, demonstrated the high class and diverse range of wine styles being produced across the country.

"This year we wanted to add the wine testing to keep the stand interesting and have tried to give the stand an autumnal, harvest feel with pumpkins from Lower Ladysden farms and trees from F P Matthews." said Claire Seymour at N P Seymour. “We have also hosted representatives from Antonio Carraro on the stand. It is the first time they have come over from Italy as they have just launched the new Agricube range of tractors

Battle For The Bonanza

With an impressive three-year technology, environment, and crop management package worth £10,000 from agronomists Hutchinson up for grabs, there was a noticeable flurry of competitors submitting at least three entries into this year's National Fruit Show in a bid to be entered into the bonanza prize draw.

To be eligible for the prize draw, which took place at the anniversary dinner on Wednesday evening, fruit exhibitors needed to have three entries scoring 85 points or more in classes one to 19. This year's bonanza prize winner was J L Baxter and Son.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, Hutchinson decided to support the shows bonanza prize to give back to the industry and the three-year package has been designed to help Baxter and Sons optimise inputs and yield by using technology to understand the resources required to grow high quality top fruit and provide insight in orchard management.

“As well as a Healthy Soils assessment, Omnia nutrition planning and mapping services, Baxter and Sons will have access to our new Fruit Vision services. which is probably the most exciting part of the prize,” said Mike Hutchinson, Horticulture director at Hutchinson. "We will drive a camera system through the orchard to count fruit and measure size of apples on the trees. From this the grower will be able to map precisely where fruit is located and its overall quality. From this they can accurately assess orchard performance and can make changes based on this data."

The firm has been working on Fruit Vision for around four years and it is hoped that this new technology will transform the way growers monitor performance and adapt practices to improve productivity and profitability from its orchards.