Rob Saunders

Rob Saunders

Rob is an agronomist at H. L. Hutchinsons Ltd, providing crop protection consultancy and best practice advice to fruit and hop growers.  Rob has specialised in fruit agronomy for over 20 years; previous agronomy roles include GlaxoSmithKline (primarily looking after Blackcurrants for Ribena), and as a fruit agronomist for Willmot Pertwee.

Rob trained in agriculture at Seale-Hayne and started his working life helping to manage a fruit and hop farm.  Currently Rob manages two Innovate UK research projects, one seeking to develop methods to improve the release from dormancy of perennial crops suffering from inadequate winter chilling, the second a precision spraying project, with the objective of treating apple trees as individuals.  He also looks after HELIOS: the Hutchinson’s Enhanced Light Interception Orchard System, a prototype orchard that pushes to boundaries of canopy management for maximum light interception and yield.

Robs other interests include low carbon buildings (he has an MSc in Architecture, Energy and the Environment) and is particularly interested in the challenge of finding ways to improve the efficiency of resource utilisation – producing more while using less.

In 2016 he received the Fruit Culture Award for Communication and Technology Transfer from the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers.

Rob lives in West Kent with his wife and two children.

Innovative Farmers – Improving soil health through farmer-led research

Agricology Discussion Tent

Farmers often innovate and experiment in isolation. Only 1% of research money is currently going towards farmer-led agricultural projects, with much of the rest going to top down research which often tries to parachute products onto farmers, increasing the input bill. Innovative Farmers is trying to change this. Matching the ideas and expertise of farmers […]

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