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Following a successful pilot study group project focused on Next Generation Growing (NGG), GrowSave led a workshop on 14 February 2019, hosted by Mill Nurseries, to share some of the lessons learned. The 25-strong audience comprised of growers, crop consultants and industry representatives, all keen to hear the outcomes of the project.
During the 12 months that the study group was active, all members were able to increase their understanding of the subject, with training provided through a series of online sessions. Each of the growers also used the LetsGrow.com online data sharing platform, to record their climate data, which the NGG specialist, Mark Van der Werf, would regularly analyse and subsequently suggest what could be improved in terms of growing strategy. As the group became more comfortable with the techniques, their strategies evolved to include more and more of what they were learning.
The aim of NGG is to promote a healthy crop and minimise disease risk by giving the plant what it needs when it needs it. The key focus is on maintaining three plant ‘balances’: energy, water and assimilates. By taking a holistic approach and understanding how changing one aspect of the environment can affect any other, NGG incorporates conventional wisdom with physics and plant physiology.
During a panel discussion at the workshop, Chris Theron of Mill Nurseries explained how he had been able to maintain a very healthy crop last season and was rewarded with an increase in yield, which he attributed to the newly learned techniques. Keen to keep progressing, GrowSave is looking to understand how we can support further development of the principles over the coming season and is looking for a number of like-minded growers to form a new group. If you would like to be involved please contact Growsave via the website or firstname.lastname@example.org.