UK: Tyfu Cymru announces line-up for ‘virtual’ Plant Health in Horticulture Conference

This October, Tyfu Cymru will be launching the Plant Health in Horticulture Conference, which will bring together commercial growers and stakeholders from across the horticulture industry, and includes renowned speakers such as Professor Nicola Spence, Pippa Greenwood and Dr. Ana Perez-Sierra.

The conference will cover major issues surrounding plant health and biosecurity in commercial horticulture with a focus on Wales. It will describe prevention, diagnosis, control and the mitigation of pests and diseases, giving growers information that they can apply directly to their businesses.

Held virtually over a two-week period with daily sessions in a range of formats, from talks to virtual tours to panel discussions. Tyfu Cymru is pleased to announce the schedule of leading plant health professionals speaking at the conference.

Opening on Monday 12th October, Kevin Thomas - Director, Lantra Wales and Professor David Skydmore - Senior Plant Health Professional will give an overview of the objectives and main themes of the Conference.

On Tuesday 13th October, Pippa Greenwood - Broadcaster, Author and HTA Horticulture Manager will give and introduction to the Role of Trade Associations. Pippa is a well-known broadcaster and author and is a regular panel member on Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time. She will give her perspective of commercial horticulture and the factors that may encourage or limit growth of the industry both now and, through horizon scanning, the future. As well as highlighting the roles of trade associations in raising awareness and representing members.

We have an exciting virtual tour of the renowned Crûg Farm Plants in North Wales on Wednesday 14th October, including an interview with owners Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones, who are intrepid plant hunters who have explored the world to build their collections.

Curator of Horticulture, Will Ritchie, will introduce the plant health practises routinely utilised at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire to help create a biosecure site on Thursday 15th. It will cover some straightforward, effective, low-cost tips that horticulturists can use to maintain plant health within their nurseries.

On Friday 16th October we look at biosecurity policy and legislation. Professor Nicola Spence, the UK Chief Plant Health Officer will describe the importance of maintaining biosecurity to prevent the spread of new pests and diseases and protect our industry. Growers need to be aware of the requirements for plant passporting and phytosanitary certificates in relation to plant import and export.

Plant Health is an area devolved to Wales; Martin Williams, Welsh Government will put the biosecurity legislation into the Welsh context. He will also describe some of the issues facing Wales in terms of plant pest and diseases and how the Welsh Government is seeking to address them. Nicola Spence and Martin Williams will then be available for a live discussion. This is an opportunity for Conference participants to put their questions to these leaders in plant health.

Plant Healthy Alliance has produced the Plant Health Management Standard and developed the voluntary Plant Healthy Certification Scheme which will enable businesses to demonstrate they comply with the Standard. This is a significant development which will encourage improvements in plant health leading to a more resilient horticulture industry. This session on Monday 19th October will give an opportunity for growers to be introduced to the standard and scheme.

It is essential that pests and diseases are identified correctly before they can be controlled efficiently, and their spread prevented. On Tuesday 20th October, Dr. Ana Perez-Sierra will describe the processes of diagnosis and some of the new technologies involved.

Nick and Pat Bean successfully grow vegetables and soft fruit in Pembrokeshire and lead the way in business development. This case study on Wednesday 21st October describes their involvement in a European Innovation Project, led by ADAS, which will improve knowledge of integrated pest management to reduce pesticide usage and waste.

Bransford Webbs is one of the leading growers of ornamental plants in the UK. This case study on Thursday 22nd will introduce Bransford Webbs use of biological pest control. Showing the nursery, the film outlines which pests are controlled with commercially available, introduced biological controls and how predators are used to proactively manage pest populations.

Closing on Friday 23rd October, Professor David Skydmore will summarise the key messages and will highlight some of the limitations to the industry that have been mentioned during the Conference and what we may do about them. It will conclude by outlining the opportunities for the horticulture sector and the options for progress in Wales.

To register for the conference please visit:

The Plant Health in Horticulture Conference is100% fully funded by Tyfu Cymru in collaboration with the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Tyfu Cymru has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

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