Innovative Arable Research Strategy Unveiled
Genetics, nutrition and soils, precision agronomy, crop protection and emerging technologies are the central pillars of the innovative five year research strategy unveiled this autumn to underpin the most significant expansion in applied research, development and technical support for UK farming in more than 20 years.
In a significant first for the agricultural supply industry, the formal plan is designed to focus the multi-million pound extra national Agrii research investment announced last year on the most important gaps cereal, oilseed rape, potato, vegetable and fruit production knowledge.
It has been developed by the special R&D Strategy Board established under the independent chairmanship of leading crop scientist, Professor James Burke to guide activities in close
co-operation with some of the country’s most respected specialists and organisations.
“Our first five-year research plan is based on an extensive national R&D priorities study conducted with customers and agronomists across the country over the past 12 months,” explains head of technology and services, Clare Bend. “It refines the wide range of potential study areas identified through this into more than 50 research projects validated for their contribution to growers’ needs and prioritised by region.
“Increasing the production system efficiency and improving product quality and safety with the greatest economic and environmental sustainability is the core purpose of the plan. It builds on the extensive trials programme we already have underway to optimise the performance of current systems and identify new solutions to the most pressing agronomic challenges. Managing risk and volatility and maximising return on investment are central to all its components.”
As well as organising the company’s research into a series of carefully-integrated work programmes for the greatest customer value, the R&D strategy allocates specific internal and external resources to deliver them and sets out the way this will be done through the developing network of regional Agrii Technology Centres and ifarms.
Key Agrii Research Strategy Pillars
- Identifying superior genetics and the best ways of exploiting them through variety-specific agronomy;
- Improving crop nutrition and soil management through a better understanding of individual nutrients, their interactions and soil health;
- Employing precision agronomy, electronically-driven aids and real-time trials data for more effective crop management and decision-making;
- Harnessing the full range of cultural controls alongside agrochemicals for the most integrated and effective crop protection; and,
- Exploring the practical value of exciting new nano-science, bio-pesticide and other emerging technologies in crop protection and nutrition.
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