WANTED: WINTER WHEAT FARMERS TO HELP WITH STUDY
Major study looking at environmental factors affecting yields
Rothamsted Research is seeking farmers who would be interested in allowing us to study two winter wheat fields and share their management information as part of our ongoing research into sustainable intensification.
In exchange, we will provide a detailed set of measurements of their soil and crop.
The research team are seeking fields in Herefordshire, North Yorkshire, the Scottish Borders and East Lothian.
“We’re after two average-sized fields per farm, from 4 to 15 hectares,” says Ian Shield, an agronomist at Rothamsted. “Ideally, we’d like one that the farmer describes as ‘always good’ and another described perhaps as ‘I never know what to expect’.”
The regions chosen for the productivity study reflect just some of the conditions, from topography to climate, that UK farmers manage on a day-to-day basis. The aim is to discover what factors influence yields and how they change under different conditions.
Helping with this research could transform the performance of a farm’s cereal crop and help to make agricultural land in the UK among the most commercially productive and environmentally sustainable in Europe, said Shield.
“Three or four researchers would visit the fields three times a year when crops have been sown. They would take soil measurements, recording texture and penetration resistance, for instance, and analyse samples for their chemistry.”
Weed and disease pressures would be assessed, and they would also observe crop architecture, he added. Finally, components of yield will be measured.
“Farmers can have all the information relating to their own farms and, of course, access to our results,” says Shield. “We would also need management records from farmers and any historical yield maps for the fields involved. And we can anonymise locations and data, if required.”
The study is part of the wider Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems (ASSIST) programme, which Rothamsted jointly leads with UKCEH.
For more information, please contact Ian Shield email@example.com
Work is planned to start in early March.
About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
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The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.