For the first time leading cider fruit growers will gather for a day-long event to hear the latest developments from cider industry leaders and researchers at the inaugural Growers Conference.
Organised by the Cider & Perry Orchards Network of Excellence (ONE) and the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) the event will host around 150 growers on Tuesday 24th February at Kingsholm, home of Gloucester Rugby Club.
With the considerable increase in apples grown in the UK to supply the cider industry and with a continual drive for quality and greater sustainability the event will inform and engage those involved in the management of around 18,000 acres of orchards in England and Wales.
Helen Thomas, chair of the NACM’s Pomology Group said: “The partnership between growers and cider makers is both vital and mutually dependent.
“To have the opportunity to host so many growers and share with them the latest research and our future research plans strengthens that relationship and will also see further improvements in sustainability, in yields and in orchard management.”
Martin Thatcher, chair of the NACM will also outline his view of a unique industry. He said: “We recognise that there are very significant export opportunities for the industry – both in products and knowledge transfer.
“There are few sectors where the UK might justifiably claim to a global leader, but in cider that is true – and true at a time when interest and sales have never been greater around the world.”
The UK cider industry uses over 250,000 tonnes of UK apples, representing nearly six in ten of all apples grown across the country.
Among the speakers will be leading academics in tree health, soil nutrition and organic agriculture, including the Soil Association.
Gilly Pollock, orchard network manager for ONE and organiser of the event said: “Farmers and growers attending will benefit from expert advice as well as hearing first-hand some of the latest scientific research into the cultivation of apples and orchard management.
“They will also gain enormously from talking with one another to understand the best practice of others. This sharing of knowledge is one of the benefits of the network which now has well over 100 commercial growers from across the main orcharding areas of Herefordshire and Somerset as well as further afield.”
The NACM, as the industry body for cider makers, will inform attendees of the future research projects they will fund to benefit growers and cider makers alike.
For tickets and more information about the event or the Orchard Network of Excellence, email@example.com or call 07768 950 249.