UK biologicals business Eden Research has announced a partnership with the NIAB EMR horticultural research station in Kent to advance the future of sustainable crop production in the UK, particularly in viticulture. The partners are investigating the use of Eden’s bio-fungicide Mevalone against Botrytis cinerea, a fungal pathogen affecting several plant species and causing worldwide economic losses.

NIAB EMR established a research vineyard in 2015, followed by a Viticulture Consortium of NIAB EMR and leading UK vineyards to fund and co-ordinate R&D for the sector. The work covers growing systems and resource-use efficiency, genetic improvement and pest and disease control. Compared with average UK vineyard yields of between 4.4 and 5.9 t/ha, NIAB believes UK yields of over 10t/ha are possible.

Eden aims to provide UK growers with a sustainable way to protect against botrytis, following the approval of Mevalone in the UK. “The importance of sustainable viticulture continues to grow in response to public concern over traditional pesticides, and experts in the UK are increasing efforts to find the right solutions for consumers and growers alike,” says Eden chief executive Sean Smith.