Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows

Sustainable Soils and Grassland Systems

The Sustainable Soils and Grassland Systems Department has staff at both the Harpenden and North Wyke sites. We aim to understand, model and manipulate the abiotic and biotic processes in arable and grazed grassland soils to improve the function, resilience and sustainability of farming systems.

Head of Department: Prof.Steve McGrath
Departmental Secretary: Sally Murdoch

Areas of scientific expertise

The Department has internationally-acknowledged expertise in the biology, chemistry and physics of soils and soil processes in arable and grazed grassland systems. It has particular expertise in nutrient and pollutant cycling, especially of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur and micronutrients, the recycling of organic manures, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, soil-root interactions, and soil and crop modelling. The Department delivers to Rothamsted's strategic objectives in the areas of sustainable soil and grassland management.

The Department links most closely to the Delivering Sustainable Systems research programme, delivering research on sustainable soil and grassland management. It also delivers research into soil-root interactions to '20:20 Wheat®', on carbon cycling, sequestration and modelling to 'Cropping Carbon', and on micronutrient quality of cereal grains to 'Designing Seeds'.

Research Teams

Sustainable Crop Yields and Quality

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Research includes: Optimisation of micronutrient status in food crops, risk assessment of metals and metalloids in soils, bio-indicators of pollution, focussing on heavy metals and manufactured nanoparticles, biogeochemistry of phosphorus, sulphur and trace elements in soils, microbes and plants.

Modelling Bioenergy Systems

Evaluation of the productivity of perennial energy crops in land use systems, environmental impact of energy crops using a wide range of modelling techniques (including Monte Carlo and scenario simulation)...

Quantifying Sustainability

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Research focusses on evaluating the sustainability of modern agricultural practices and the tradeoffs with the provision of environmental goods and services. An ecosystem services approach has been adopted for use with mathematical models that quantify, value and compare the provision and resilience of provision of goods and environmental services in both space and time and in the face of stresses such as climate change and growth in demand.

Farm Platform National Capability

The world needs innovative solutions for the sustainable intensification of its major agricultural systems. The North Wyke Farm Platform represents a large investment by BBSRC in the future, to not only study but also improve grassland livestock systems in a national and global research asset linked to real-world farming.

Long Term Experiments National Capability

The UK Environmental Change Network  (ECN), together with the Long-Term experiments, Sample Archive and e-RA., comprise the Long Term Experiments National Capability

Department Press Releases

Collaborative roots could reduce reliance on phosphorus fertilisers

A consortium of UK based organisations, including Rothamsted Research, has been awarded funding to look into cropping systems that could harness the phosphorus already available in soils.

Eight strategies for efficient and sustainable livestock farming

Livestock farming, that works best for individuals, communities and the planet, should be supported by studies on best practice using research farm platform facilities.

A grass roots approach to flooding

The unique Farm Platform facility of Rothamsted Research in North Wyke Devon will be used for a new project which aims to develop new grasses that enable grassland soils to capture increased volumes of rainfall, thereby reducing the risk of flooding downstream. The 5 year £2.5 million LINK project named SUREROOT is funded by the BBSRC and match-funded by a range of industrial partners from across the food production spectrum, including a seed company, major retailer and the meat, poultry and dairy industry. It is led by scientists at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) in partnership with Rothamsted Research.

Professor John Crawford joins Rothamsted Research

Rothamsted Research is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor John Crawford. John Crawford joined Rothamsted Research at the beginning of November 2013 and he will lead the Institute's Delivering Sustainable Systems Strategic Programme, which is funded by the BBSRC. His aim is to support the growth of integrative research at Rothamsted. 

Rothamsted scientist becomes President of the International Society of Trace Element Biogeochemistry

Professor Steve McGrath awarded this prestigious international post to support sustainable agriculture and environmental management systems

A wet year? Nearly 1 billion litres of rain fell on UK research centre in 2012

Scientists from Rothamsted Research at North Wyke use their research"farm platform" in Devon to accurately measure unprecedented levels of rainfall, its impact on farming and to test novel ways to overcome water losses.

Pages

Department People

title First Name Last Name Department Location
View Miss Elsy Akkari Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Mr Anastasios Argyropoulos Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Rhys Ashton Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Miss Deborah Beaumont Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mrs Maureen Birdsey Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Martin Blackwell Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Prof Philip Brookes Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Mrs Melanie Brookman Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Enrique Cancer-Berroya Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Ms Ruixue Cao Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Dr Laura Cardenas Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Alison Carswell Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Miss Joanna Carter Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Mr Kevin Coleman Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Prof Adie Collins Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Andrew Cooke Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Prof John Crawford Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems, Directorate Harpenden
View Mr Adrian Crosland Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Stelian Curceac Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Gordon Dailey Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Adelia De Paula Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Caterina Dell'Aquila Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Miss Liz Dixon Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Neil Donovan Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Jenni Dungait Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Miss Sarah Dunham Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Robert Dunn Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Mark Durenkamp Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Miss Michelle Farnham Plant Biology and Crop Science, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Miss Hannah Fleming Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Giacomo Fontanelli Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Steve Freeman Agroecology, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Yaoxiang Ge Plant Biology and Crop Science, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Mrs Sarah Gilhespy Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Prof Keith Goulding Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Steve Granger Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Andy Gregory Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Bruce Griffith Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Stephan Haefele Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Christopher Hall Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Paul Harris Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Jane Hawkins Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Miss Denise Headon Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Javier Hernandez Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Chris Hodgson Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Claire Horrocks Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr John Hunt Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Johannes Jensen Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Mr Arthur Johnston Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Adrian Joynes Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Kate Le Cocq Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Nadine Loick Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Andy Macdonald Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Theodore Marr Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Miss Rachel Matthews Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Cormac McAuliffe Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Mr Jamie McFadzean Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Prof Steve McGrath Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Tom Misselbrook Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Andrew Moss Computational & Systems Biology, Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology, Business Information Services, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems, Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection Harpenden
View Dr Shibu Muhammed Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mrs Sally Murdoch Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Prof Phil Murray Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Andy Neal Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Miss Yuanzhi Ni Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Mrs Marion North Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Peter North Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Robert Orr Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Robert Ostacchini Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Mr Paul Poulton Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Prof David Powlson Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Ms Mathilde Raynaud Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Dr Marc Redmile-Gordon Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Andrew Retter Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mr Sam Reynolds Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Benjamin Richard Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Goetz Richter Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Magdalena Sadys Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Mr Tony Scott Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Keith Shepherd Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Dr Anita Shepherd Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Mrs Ruth Skilton Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr David Steele Plant Biology and Crop Science, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems, Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Jackie Stroud Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Miss Marijke Struijk Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mrs Kamrun Suravi Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Miss Helena Taylor Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Miss Cathy Thomas Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Dr Lindsay Todman Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Christopher Watts Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Colin Webster Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Richard Whalley Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Peter Whalley Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Prof Andy Whitmore Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mrs Wendy Wilmer Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Martin Worsley Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Dr Lianhai Wu Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems North Wyke
View Dr Xiaoxian Zhang Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems
View Dr Fangjie Zhao Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Ms Xiaoyun Zhou Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden