British Growers Association (BGAA) and the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) are setting up a new group to represent an often over-looked sector. The Outdoor Cucurbits Grower Group will launch at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) courgette variety trials open day on 22 August 2013 at NIAB’s Cambridge site.

Peter Waldock, buying manager at DGM Growers has agreed to chair the group in its early stages. He said: “Collaboration on new research required by this sector is necessary to ensure that our HDC levy is spent on projects required by commercial growers. Relevant research and knowledge exchange are vital to the future of this expanding field-vegetable sector.”

Growers of outdoor cucurbits – courgettes, marrows, pumpkins and squash – have had several exploratory meetings with the HDC to establish research priorities for the sector including the requirement for additional crop protection products. HDC has summarised available information on several of the main issues and will be publicising the group’s R&D strategy to the research community in order to help develop a research programme to serve the sector’s needs.

Cucurbits are not grown by a large number of commercial growers so Waldock and the HDC are encouraging the entire sector to attend the open day and become involved in shaping research work to meet the needs of their own enterprises.

BGA already provides the administration for more than 10 different crop associations and will help establish the new group.