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R&D Strategy

The CGA R&D strategy has five purposes:

  • To direct R&D to improve the quality and profitability of the UK product.
  • To inform research workers of the needs of the industry.
  • To guide funding organisations such as DEFRA and HDC.
  • To avoid approaching each new problem with uncoordinated “quick fixes”.
  • For PR with retailers, politicians, consumer groups, government departments, etc.

The following topics are currently considered appropriate to the CGA’s goals:

Category 1 - Short Term Technical Goals

The principal aim of this category is to ensure that there is always the flexibility to address new problems as they arise. While such studies may require a “quick fix”, they should also take into account the CGA’s longer-term goals. It is anticipated that projects in this category will be completed within 1-3 years. The following are the three main subject areas:

  • Retention or replacement of essential crop protection chemicals until more sustainable options become available.
  • Improved background knowledge of specific new problems.
  • Fact sheets on best crop production / storage practices to help ensure optimum quality of all UK produced cucumbers presented to the consumer. 

Category 2 - Medium Term Technical Goals

This category includes goals that should be attainable within the next five years:

  • Processing / recycling crop waste to benefit the environment and to avoid the rapidly escalating costs of disposal in land fill sites.
  • Alternative types of cucumbers and/or methods of presentation to the consumer.
  • Novel crop training methods to improve cost-effectiveness of production.
  • Increase UK production of organically grown cucumbers to satisfy the domestic market.
  • Issues relating to water use (i.e. extraction, quality and diffuse pollution).

Category 3 - Longer Term Technical Goals

The target should be to attain these goals within 8-10 years. This will require both the commission of some specific projects and careful coordination of studies in categories 2 and 3 above.

  • Pesticide free cucumber production
  • Develop non-chemical methods of disease control based on biological and cultural methods, integrated with manipulation of the glasshouse environment.
  • Reduce labour input relative to productivity
  • Reduce energy use relative to productivity

Specific Examples

The following specific examples were raised by the CGA membership during summer 2008 and have been prioritised on a 1-5 scale where 1 is the highest priority.

It is important that the approaches taken to address these subjects take into account the more general CGA goals listed above.

PRIORITY 1

  • Pythium in summer replants
  • Mycosphaerella in summer and autumn crops
  • Spider mite control

PRIORITY 2

  • Modified growing environments to save energy and / or control disease (priority 4 or higher if it impacts one of the specific examples above)

PRIORITY 3

  • Mildew control

PRIORITY 4

  • Quality issues likely to arise from returning to two cordon crops per season
  • Recyclable growing media

PRIORITY 5

  • Recirculation
  • Use of UV light to reduce labour for deleafing in high wire systems.