Agrovista has strengthened its national fruit agronomy team with two new appointments covering the West Midlands and south of England.

Herefordshire-based David Taylor will service top and soft fruit customers, mainly in the West Midlands, but also nationally as demand for Agrovista’s service builds.

Mr Taylor was born on a traditional farming estate in Herefordshire, where his father was farm foreman, and has spent most of his working life in the region.

He started in the fruit sector in 2001 with Withers Fruit Farm, Ledbury where he spent seven years, ending up as general manager.

He then worked as grower manager for S & A Produce in Herefordshire for four years, followed by a similar spell as a Berry Gardens agronomist.

Mr Taylor is looking forward to the challenge. “This is an exciting time to be involved in the fruit business,” he says.

“While there are some interesting challenges ahead, not least those stemming from Brexit, I believe that the UK fruit industry has a very bright future.

“I really like Agrovista’s approach to delivering results for its customers, which gives me plenty of scope to set and achieve my own goals and directions while achieving the best results for my clients.”

New colleague Simon Warren (pictured) will cover the south of the UK from his base in Kent.

He brings plenty of knowledge to the role. His father works in soft fruit breeding, and Mr Warren has been engaged in the soft fruit sector all his working life.

He was employed by Kent-based Edward Vinson Plants for 12 years as a propagation manager and then worked for four years at S & A Produce in Herefordshire as a growing manager, working with table-top strawberries and blueberries.

Working for an advice-led company like Agrovista with industry-leading technology is an opportunity not to be missed, he adds.

“I enjoy the agronomy side of growing, as well as the challenge of growing a good healthy crop, maximising crop quality and yield with minimum waste.

“I will also eventually cover top fruit and stone fruit at Agrovista. I am looking forward to improving my knowledge in these sectors and working within the team to achieve this.”

Mark Davies, commercial head of fruit at Agrovista, says the appointments will strengthen the team as it continues to expand.

“Both Simon and David have a wealth of soft fruit experience. They will focus on building support in the use of our range of bees and biological control products in the field, whilst developing their knowledge of tree-fruit crops.

“Our team is relatively young, with an average age of 40, and this investment illustrates Agrovista’s long-term commitment to the fruit business in the UK.

“We will continue to invest in people and services that will provide sound technical advice to our customers based nationwide.

“We will also evaluate new technologies, and when appropriate, deliver these to the market place.”

Agrovista’s UK fruit business has grown year on year since its inception 10 years ago. The top fruit agronomy-led business model has been a great success, integrating Agrovista’s Grower Choice Interactive pest and disease modelling service to maximise the effectiveness of crop protection programmes.

The soft fruit market has been driven by the industry’s move from soil to substrate. Agrovista partnered with Botanicoir to lead the development of dehydrated slab technology and continues to lead the way in terms of product development.