The HTA’s Ornamentals Management Committee (OMC) met on 11th October. The current position on the industry’s move towards peat-free growing media was high up on the agenda and those currently trialling and using peat-free mixes were highlighting concerns with the consistency between batches of growing media. The Committee was reassured to hear that there are no discussions taking place within government to extend the proposed ban to the professional horticulture sector before 2028. However, the reduction in consistency coincides with the increase in demand for peat-free and peat-reduced batches which is of concern as we move towards Defra’s potential target dates.
Nurseries trialling peat-free batches are gaining good levels of knowledge and there was a call for information regarding issues with specific varieties.
The OMC was introduced to Jennifer Pheasey, the HTA’s new Director of Public Affairs, who discussed how the HTA is addressing grower unease highlighted by the OMC members, around the Government’s reported shift in approach from supporting farming, Horticulture and green growth.
Generally there is optimism amongst the committee for the year ahead but the cost of energy is beginning to affect the decisions businesses are making now and going forwards.
Finally, the committee ratified the nomination of Guy Massey as the Industry’s representative at the European Nurserystock Association.