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Announcement – Dr Phillip Davis

After five years working on LED lighting technology with core funding from the Horticultural Fellowship Fund sponsored by HTA, The East Malling Trust and AHDB (HDC) inspired by Neil Bragg, Phillip is moving on.
In 2012 STC built a large closed environment insulated facility constructed by Cambridge HOK and using Philips LED lights to look at the growth of plants under various spectral regimes.
Phillip came to work in this world leading facility and has carried out projects on a wide range of edible and ornamental crops both for AHDB but also many private growers. He also worked with tomatoes looking at overhead and inter-lighting comparison treatments. Such is the speed of LED lighting development, both in closed environments and other glasshouse crops, that commerce have largely taken up the work and are moving ahead. The closed environment work is mainly now termed Urban Farming and developments are worldwide aimed at overcoming severe climates, proximity to consumer and hygiene of crops.
Phillip is an expert in these fields having worked in the STC facilities and closely with others. As such he is in demand and will be progressing in the commercial part of the industry. We wish him well.
Graham Ward OBE said “the objective of STC is to develop and transfer science as practical technology for our customers. Phillip has done this with LED lights, for us, over the last five years. We expect our staff to move out to the commercial world and we wish him well in his new career.
With the excellent LED facilities at STC, including the new CHAP LED facility, our Director of Science, Dr David George looks forward to introducing a new Business Manager in Photobiology to continue this valuable work for the industry.”

Defra Consultation events on the proposed new Agricultural Policy on 20th & 29 March 2018

Defra Consultation events on the proposed new Agricultural Policy 


  • Hexham Mart on March 20 th    9.30 – 3.00pm
  • Yorkshire Show Pavilions on March 29 th   9.30 – 3.00pm


Book a place on The links below by 26th March 2018

For Hexham  

For Yorkshire Show Pavilions

UV – ROBOT -Innovative UV-robotics to improve existing IPM strategies and to benefit farmers, consumers and the environment



  • LEAD PARTNER ORGANISATION Proefcentrum Hoogstraten
  • LOCAL CONTACT PERSON Phillip Davis –



Project Summary

An important disease in many crops is mildew. Current horticultural practices rely on intensive pesticide use to counter it. However, the use of chemical crop protection results in spray residues on the harvested product and mildew infections cannot always be prevented. Scientific research showed that UV-C light has the potential to become a sustainable alternative for chemical mildew control. The application of UV-C still need to be optimized and automation is required to allow introduction in horticulture. UV-ROBOT will try to tackle these issues and has three main goals:

  • Develop robots for autonomous mildew control
  • Integrate UV-C in current IPM strategies
  • Implement the innovation by growers

In the course of the project we will develop, test and demonstrate cost-effective UV-C robots to control mildew in three types of crops:

  • Spherical: strawberry
  • Vertical: tomato and cucumber
  • Horizontal: lettuce and basil

Horticultural experts in Belgium and the UK will together find ways to incorporate UV-C in current IPM (Integrated Pest Management) strategies of each crop. Belgian expertise in automation and French expertise in data analysis will jointly develop innovative robots that can autonomously apply UV-C. On top, the co-creation of innovative sensors for automatic mildew monitoring by a UK partner specialized in e-nose development will reduce the farmers’ workload and ensure tight disease control.

At the end of the project the developed robots will be available for growers with a user-friendly interface and a crop specific implementation strategy. Demonstration across the NWE region and extensive communication during and after the project will inform growers to ensure innovation roll-out. We hereby aim to lower growers’ dependence on chemical crop protection and thereby reduce pesticide use and spray residues in horticulture across North-West Europe.


  • Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt
  • Octinion
  • STC Research Foundation
  • CESI
  • Roboscientific Limited
  • Comité d’Action Technique et Economique
  • Comité Départemental de Développement Maraîche


Defra consultation on future farming subsidy payments

NFU elects Minette as new President