Managing a profitable and sustainable business which continues to meet customer requirements is vitally important to all farmers. Recognising this, Red Tractor Assurance (RTA) provides its Fresh Produce members with access to a wide range of unique crop specific best practice protocols. These documents have recently been rewritten to make them easier to use, which has been received positively by members.
RTA fresh produce chairman, Louise Sutherland, said: “The Fresh Produce Protocols give members access to best practise guidance in relation to crop specific standards and are designed to help them maximise efficiencies in production. For example, by following the guidance in the protocols, growers can help minimise pesticide and input usage and costs, ensuring their business is more sustainable and profitable.
“Following positive feedback last year on the simple and easy-to-use format of the refreshed RTA Fresh Produce Farm standards, we wanted to ensure that the crop protocols were also updated. The revised document will enable growers to navigate through the vast amounts of information available to them much more easily.
“In addition they also contain the crop specific standards which have also been streamlined and simplified to clearly indicate what will be assessed. These are fully transparent in a quick reference section at the start. Assessments against these refreshed requirements will begin on 1 September 2015 and we strongly recommend you read the relevant protocol carefully to ensure you comply.”
The revised protocols have been well received by industry. Richard Bramley, a leading potato grower from Kelfield in Yorkshire, said: “As a potato grower for PepsiCo I understand the importance of assurance and any improvements which make this process clearer and easier to implement are very much welcomed.
“I much prefer the new protocol layout, with the changes and additions clearly set out at the front, followed by easy-to-read guidance. It’s also good to see they are more streamlined.”
All of the technical information contained in the protocols is written by recognised industry experts with extensive experience in crop agronomy, aligned with the relevant crop associations. They cover a wide range of areas, including information on pest, disease and weed control (including biological/non chemical options where appropriate), nutrition, irrigation, and guidance on the minimisation of residues and contaminants.
Copies of the revised protocols are now available to view and download from www.redtractorassurance.org.uk/protocols.