Apple and cherry growers from across the region, predominantly made up of Orange and Batlow farmers, congregated at the Batlow RSL Club on Wednesday morning for the annual Growers Breakfast Meeting.
Headlining speaker was Steve McArtney, Global Product Development Manager for Valent Biosciences, which is a US-based company specialising in research, development and commercialisation of biotechnologies and products for the agricultural, public health, forestry, and household markets.
However, Mr McArtney said he got as much out of the meeting as the growers who came to hear him speak.
“I used to be involved more in research and to be honest I would get a lot of my best research ideas from talking to growers,” he said.
“Growers are out there every day of the week in the crop and they see things all the time, so they’ll see something strange happening, and they may not necessarily know why. It’s very important for me to get out and talk to growers and see what’s happening and get some ideas; it was very stimulating for my research program.”
The second key speaker was Charles McClintock from Sumitomo Chemical, who introduced a new herbicide called Chateau. Prior to the speakers, the growers and other industry experts had a breakfast barbecue provided by the Rotary Club of Batlow.
Event organiser Rob Forsyth, of E E Muir and Sons, said this was a valuable opportunity for local producers.
“Part of it is about sharing ideas; you can have a discussion and share individual experiences between the growers,” he said.
“We’re talking herbicides and plant regulators today; ways of manipulating trees and thinning chemicals and setting and holding better crops in apples and cherries, and Steve’s a global identity around that.
“Growers wouldn’t normally get access to guys like that without us doing this and without [E.E Muir and Sons’] chemical partners.”