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Farm Assurance – do you comply?

1 August 2011

Red Tractor non-conformances include some central issues around sustainability and assurance and these should be addressed properly to optimise business performance, says AHDB Potatoes head of R&D, Dr Mike Storey.

The latest Assured Produce newsletter highlights the top ten non-compliances, identifying areas such as soil structure, energy use and water management.

“Many of these are relevant to the potato industry and impact on profit margins, so it is essential to tackle these issues,” explains Mike.

“The Assured Produce guidelines have been devised to help growers develop management plans that help them improve efficiency, so it is in their own interest to follow through.”

According to Mike, one of the most important areas of non-compliance concerns soils, their characteristics and production potential. As part of the scheme, growers need to develop and implement a soil management plan to help maintain soils structure and control erosion.

“To maximise yields over the long-term, it is vital to look after the soil structure. Growers need to develop a practical plan they can follow.”

Furthermore, to comply with standards, the producer should be able to demonstrate monitoring energy use by keeping records.

“Growers need to identify areas in which they can improve cost-efficiency. One area they need to monitor carefully is energy use in stores, as this can have quite an impact,” says Mike. “It is essential to keep adequate documentation for future reference. Current research with FEC and Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research is demonstrating how these records can be used to monitor and improve performance.” To find out more visit the Energy Hub at

 Other areas identified in the newsletter include reducing water waste and ensuring spraying equipment is properly maintained and operators are NRoSO registered.

 “All these areas can impact on businesses and getting them right makes sound commercial sense,” concludes Mike.

For the top ten non-conformances posted in the Assured Produce newsletter click here.

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