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The Nitrogen Climate Smart Project

News - 31.05.23

The Nitrogen Climate Smart project is a 4-year industry-led publicly funded project to investigate nitrogen efficient plants for climate smart arable cropping systems.

The premise being that increased pulse cropping can substantially reduce carbon emissions from agriculture.

The use of artificial nitrogen and the consumption of imported soya for animal feeds are two of the largest causes of carbon emissions associated with agriculture within England. Through ‘systems change’ there is an opportunity to tackle both and deliver significant carbon savings throughout the agricultural supply chain.

The primary beneficiaries of this project are UK farmers in terms of costs saved and carbon emissions reduced but also reductions from farming emissions will benefit the UK population both economically and socially.   

The project has several partners involved from various organisations including PGRO (project lead), The Farm Carbon Toolkit, BOFIN (British On-Farm Innovation Network), The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), Plant Bioscience Ltd, Wessex Water, Cranfield University, The James Hutton Institute, McArthur Agriculture, Kelvin Cave Ltd, First Milk, ADAS, LC Beef Nutrition, The Andersons Centre, SRUC and ABN.​​​​​​​
nitrogen climate smart project investigating pulse crops

Our Role in the NCS Project

​​​​​​​Our part in the project will be to closely monitor the beneficial effect of legume crops on successive non-leguminous crops, such as cereals, across the rotation.

We will run trials which will utilise real-time soil sensors to determine nitrogen availability during crop rotations and we will closely monitor these through our RHIZA remote sensing capabilities. We want to understand more about improved farm efficiency opportunities and optimised crop fertilisation approaches.

​​​​​​​Another area of the project we will be involved with is the interrogation of historic farm data. Exploration of the data we already have available from arable rotations that included pulses will allow an understanding of previous and current farm practices and will highlight where information gaps currently exist.  

As part of the project 200+ farmers will be required to take part in the research. The idea being that they will opt into the project, share information, ideas and experiences on their farming practices as well being involved with testing on-farm tools.

As part of the project, there is also an opportunity for farmers to become involved in the YEN (Yield Enhancement Network) infrastructure. This will allow growers to calculate and benchmark their carbon baseline, nutrient use efficiencies, profitability, yield and other metrics all of which will feed into the project.


Learn more about the NCS Project on the BOFINS website

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