As international experts in crop physiology, plant genetics and crop management, our research goals are to understand:
- the physiological processes by which crops capture resources (light, CO2, water, nutrients)
- how crops use these resources to produce saleable products (crop yield & quality).
- how environmental factors (climate, weather and soil) and crop management factors (genotype, sow date, seed rate, nutrition, agro-chemicals etc.) affect physiological processes.
- how crop management affects the environment (e.g. risk of nitrate leaching, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions).
We distil the scientific evidence we collect into sound practical guidelines for growers.
Our areas of expertise include:
- improving nutrient (macro and micro) use efficiency
- fertiliser use efficiency (e.g. urease and nitrification inhibitors; slow-release products etc.)
- improving organic material nutrient use (e.g. livestock manures, biosolids, compost, digestate, paper crumble etc.), including the development of innovative treatment practices
- integrating the use of organic materials and manufactured fertilisers
- investigating controlled release fertilisers, liquid feeding and foliar feeding; soil and substrate media
- advising growers on legislative requirements to minimise nutrient losses to the environment and crop contamination
- on-farm advice including nutrient management plans, manure management plans, crop quality and regulatory compliance
- diagnosing crop nutrient-related disorders
Field and tramline trial services
Our applied research is scientifically rigorous, hypothesis-driven, and challenge-led. We are on hand to help clients find trial sites and set up, as well as oversee, a wide range of experiments designs treatments and measurements. Our analyses are regularly published in international peer-reviewed journals.
We offer both split field and tramline trial services tailored to the research question and level of client involvement required.
In addition we can also offer:
- Analysis and reporting of raw yield map data from earlier client-run split-field or tramline trials, to determine statistical confidence in treatment differences.
- Support of client-led trials. Download our guide to farmer led crop trials
Cutting edge crop research
One of our key research advances is our Agronomics service. This new technology enables farmers to compare agronomic treatments at tramline, split-field and whole field scales. Using Agronomics precision technology can allow us to detect significant differences of <0.1 t/ha.
Previous research topics
We regularly carry out crop phenotyping for plant breeders and variety testers. Our other crop investigations have included reducing nitrogen requirements, improving lodging resistance and effective crop rooting depth. Working alongside our in-house pathologists and entomologists, our inter-disciplinary projects have looked at disease tolerance and reliable pest thresholds.
We have produced industry standard husbandry guidelines for all crops, including minor crops e.g. Triticale, optimising fertilisers and targeting plant growth regulars (PGRs). Our algorithms support precision farming and the prescription of variable rates.