8th UK Onion and Carrot Conference & Exhibition - 20th & 21st November

by Jayne Dyas

20th & 21st NOVEMBER 2013

The forthcoming UK Onion & Carrot Conference will be held on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st November 2013 at the KingsGate Conference Centre, Peterborough.
This is a well-established meeting point, conference and trade show for all those involved in production or allied to these significant industries from home and abroad. An additional highlight is the dinner on Wednesday, 20th November, which will return to the Holiday Inn Peterborough West.

Speaking at the Onion Conference will be Robert Oldershaw Snr and John Grimwood from the Oldershaw Group who have carried on the business founded by Gilbert Oldershaw soon after the Second World War. From humble beginnings the company has slowly expanded over the intervening years to become one of the leading packers for supermarkets in the UK.

Robert and John will be highlighting the historical points of note in the development of the business and particularly referring to the ADAS Development Farm project in the late 1970’s. This transformed the UK bulb onion crop from a market garden type harvest into chitting trays to large field scale production with the crop topped, undercut and loaded directly into store for curing at high temperature.

The company today works with an extensive range of packaging for an equally extensive range of varieties and types, from garlic to shallots to eschallions to a range of brown and red onion varieties which is a far cry from those humble beginnings.

Carrot crops have required high levels of irrigation input in hot conditions just to survive and reservoirs have been emptied by the end of August . By contrast in 2012, last year 300mm of surplus rainfall had been recorded. Growers have faced increased production costs and slow sales during the warm summer have hit cash flow and these issues will be on growers minds when they attend the carrot conference on the 21st November. In addition to topics presenting new technical knowledge and managing risks, speakers will also focus on developments in the UK marketplace, enforcing the groceries supply code of practice and creating a sustainable industry. The latter looks difficult in the face of the recent announcement of the termination of the SAWS program. This leads carrot grower Guy Poskitt to conclude “One thing is for sure about a future without SAWS – having a less reliable and consistent workforce is going to increase harvesting costs for horticultural businesses.”

Further information is available from Wendy Fenwick at British Onions, BGA House, Nottingham Road, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 0WB, or phone 01507 353788 or email: wendy.fenwick@britishgrowers.org