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Oxford Real Farming Conference: NIAB, AHDB and Soil Moisture Sense take the stage

Agri-TechE Article
NIAB NIAB

How can the weather be used to predict pest invasions? Can stem flea beetle be tackled without pesticides? Can new crops give a boost to ecosystem services? Agri-TechE members will be out in force at the Oxford Real Farming Conference (5th – 7th Jan 2022) to discuss these questions and plenty more.

Oxford Real Farming Conference
Oxford Town Hall was the venue for last years’ ORFC – (c) Hugh Warwick

The conference started as a fringe event alongside the Oxford Farming Conference, but has created its own identity with a focus on regenerative farming.
Sessions that include  NIAB, AHDB, and Soil Moisture Sense:
All The Trappings Of Success – How to control pests in horticulture – 11am on Thursday 6th Jan – Tim Blyth (Moisture Sense) will join James Rome (East of Scotland Growers), Carolyn Coxe (Soil Association) and Rosemary Collier (Warwick Crop Centre) to discuss the interaction of weather with the monitoring and control of pests.
Improving Crop Species Diversity In A Farmed Environment – 2pm on Thursday 6th Jan –  this session, chaired by Belinda Clarke (Agri-TechE) will see Lydia Smith, Syed Shah and Jim Orson (all NIAB) discussing ways to improve the environment for ecosystem service providers above and below the ground.

Oxford Real Farming ConferenceAhiflower
Ahiflower provides a rich source of omega oils. Grown here by Natures Crops International (PRNewsfoto/Natures Crops International)

The discussion will include re-introduction of old or under-utilised crops, such as hemp, poppy and quinoa, as well as new crops such as ahiflower and lentils.
Banish Pests Without Pesticides – 11am on Friday 7th Jan – Anne Stone (AHDB) is to join George Hosford (JHR Hosford), Ali Capper (Stocks Farm), David George (Newcastle University) and Jerry Alford (Soil Association) will look at the methods of tricking pests with trap crops in potatoes, defoliating oilseed rape to tackle cabbage stem flea beetle, introducing predatory insects to knock back the two spotted spider mites in hop yards, or growing flowers to attract beneficials.
More information at ORFC.org.uk