Apples can suffer from excess sunlight and heat. The stress causes sunburn or sunscald.

The effect on the apple is surface discolouration and hence degrading of the fruit. This can be a severe loss to the grower. Hence the experiment here where two factors are being examined. Firstly, the use of nets over the orchard provides shade and should reduce the risk of sun burn. Secondly, different coloured net are being tried. As these let through different wavelengths of light, there maybe different responses from the apples.

Posted by Chris on 19 December 2009

The Asda Extra Special Turkey is from a special breed, the Bronze.

These are farmed in free range systems that give plenty of space to roam. So if you are looking for that special centre piece for Christmas, aim for a Bronze.

And here they are in their feathered finery on the free range farms.

Posted by Chris on 18 December 2009


We’re putting our marketing clout behind raising awareness of British turkeys. Look out for adverts in the major newspapers showing the Red Tractor and British provenance of our main turkey line.

And we are making these birds the main feature in one of our Christmas TV campaigns.

All in all £1 million worth of support for British turkeys and another fillip for the Red Tractor.

Posted by Chris on 18 December 2009


Asda, along with many other organisations, places a lot of attention on the use of agrochemicals. We have a requirement that growers are responsible with their use and justify the need for the application. We want growers to look for other control methods and techniques.

Biocontrol methods

As with other crops the South African orchard growers use biocontrol methods such as pheromone traps or disruptors. The traps lure the sexually active pests to a trap. The disruptors keep the pest so confused it is unable to complete the lifecycle.

Physical barriers are also employed. In the orchards the Snout Beetle causes surface damage to the fruit. An affected crop looks like a small drill has been used all over the fruit. This drastically reduces the value of the crop. The solution is a plastic wrap covered with sticky glue like substance to form a barrier.

Posted by Chris on 18 December 2009


Water isn’t everywhere in South Africa. The growth in farming has been supported by the construction of reservoirs that are filled with winter rainfall and then used for irrigation in the summer.

We are starting to be more aware of the water that we use and that are contained in the products and used by our lifestyle. However, on a small rainy set of islands this debate can seem a little academic (especially as at the time of writing I am surrounded by flooded fields and it’s still pouring down).

South Africa and similar countries are having to confront the water issue. South Africa has legislated as in effect nationalised water. It is no longer permitted to build private dams. Hence production is water limited and increases in productivity have to be allied to better water utilisation.

Posted by Chris on 17 December 2009