Four arable supply industry companies are collaborating over an initiative to promote sustainable crop production through innovation, technology and best practice.
Initiated by plant breeder DSV, the AD4PT strategic alliance comprises cultivation and drilling equipment manufacturer Horsch; the crop protection business Adama; and adjuvant and biostimulant specialist Interagro.
The four businesses are complementary, rather than competing with each other, and share a vision of challenging conventional thinking and testing new approaches.
The alliance has established a trials site in Nottinghamshire, where initial work is exploring cultivations; varieties and companion cropping; the use of biostimulants; and weed and disease control programmes both with and without adjuvants.
“With extreme weather events and the global Covid-19 pandemic to deal with, in addition to the ongoing drive towards more sustainable production, the need for growers to adapt to the new environment for food production has never been greater,” observes ADAMA UK product manager Alison Hall.
“Acceleration in the effects of climate change; increasing weed, pest and disease resistance; regulatory challenges; and environmental pressures on farmers; means building resilience and adaptability into production systems is now an absolute necessity.”
Interagro marketing manager Sarah Ferrie adds that AD4PT is underpinned by 4 key pillars – partnership, protection, performance and progress – which the stakeholder companies believe are key to the future of efficient, sustainable and profitable farming.
“Partnerships is all about pooling expertise, knowledge, resources and innovations to deliver a collaborative focus on soil, seed and crop protection with a vision to help growers embrace new approaches, adopt new technologies and make smarter investments,” she notes.
“Protection involves looking at various variety traits, establishment methods, and crop protection/adjuvant combinations to identify the best approaches to protect crops from pests, weeds and diseases.
“Performance is more than looking at the traditional benchmarks of yield and quality – it is taking this towards performance in the field and factoring in all true input costs to help growers optimise their profitability, and ultimately, sustainability.”
Finally, “Progress means working together to find practical solutions and innovative combinations of new thinking/technologies that can help producers overcome future production issues,” Ms Ferrie concludes.
Sarah Hawthorne of DSV UK says the intention is to use traditional and new communications to spread the AD4PT thinking. “We’ve all learned a lot in recent weeks about how knowledge transfer can be accelerated through the use of new technology and it is very much our intention to integrate online conferencing, webinars, virtual plot tours and video presentations whilst using social media and other digital media.
“We’ll also be focusing on more traditional communication routes including regular newsletters and a series of post Covid-19 AD4PT open days in 2021 is now being planned. These will focus on a range of key agronomy topics, including the findings of our first wave of trials, and give visitors an opportunity to talk to experts involved in the initiative,” she explains.
“All the companies involved in AD4PT believe passionately that technology, and in particular the integration of best practice techniques, has a major role to play in helping growers meet the future demands placed on them whilst benefitting the wider global community,” concludes Ms Hall.