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11140023 AHDB Rotations Research Partnership

Publication Date: 
3 July 2017
Author/Contact :
Author/Contact: 
Marc Allison

Contractor :
Contractor: 
NIAB CUF

Full Title: AHDB Research Partnership - Management of Rotations, Soil Structure and Water
Duration: 01/04/2016 to 31/03/2021

Core collaborators
NIAB CUF; Rothamsted Research; James Hutton Institute; Lancaster University.
 
Partner collaborators
Aarhus University; BIOSS; Vegetable Consultancy Services; Duchy College.
 
Contributing in-kind
Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Association; Frontier Agriculture; Grimme (UK) Ltd; Kettle Produce Ltd; Spearhead Marketing Ltd; B&C Farming Ltd; Greenvale AP; Farm Care Ltd; J & AE Montgomery; WB Daw & Son; Frederick Hiam Ltd.
 
Background
Although there have been several studies that have investigated the effects of cultivations on the yield of individual crops within the rotation, there, are few large-scale statistically-valid studies that have examined cultivation strategies and rotation length and composition in the context of whole rotation productivity and sustainability to and better quantify soil quality and resilience.
There is also a need to critically evaluate these new technologies by reference to more established one, and how these could be applied across the rotation. As well as gaining a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms by which changes in soil characteristics (as a consequence of changes in soil management) affect growth and function of fibrous roots, soil water availability and crop water use and irrigation requirement, and how this subsequently affects crop performance.
 
Aims and Approach
This is an integrated research programme of soils and water research to optimise the productivity and sustainability of rotations. The 4 programmes are as follows:
 
WP1 AHDB Grower Platform to support resilient rotations
The aim of the Grower Platform will be to provide data (historical and current) that will help quantify the linkages between rotational management, soil physical conditions and economic and agronomic sustainability and the resilience of UK agricultural systems to external stresses.  It is also envisaged that the Grower Platform could be used as a resource to underpin further work relating to the biological and nutritional aspect of crop rotations.
 
WP2 Applications of new technologies to enhance rotations
The aim of this project is develop existing precision farming technologies, imaging systems, models and decision support systems to provide growers, agronomists and land-managers with a ‘toolbox’ that will help them manage their soil resources in a more effective way.
 
WP3 Enhancing rotational productivity and resilience
This project aims to investigate the effects of different rotation types (e.g. length and composition), soil amendments, cover crops and cultivation strategies on key soil metrics and rotational sustainability for a range of soil types used for crop production in the UK.
 
WP4 Linking soils, water and roots with crop productivity
This project will demonstrate how soil management practices (e.g. organic amendments and irrigation) alter soil conditions, root distribution and function and crop performance.  In addition, the project will also investigate how soil management and genotypic differences in root length distribution interact to determine water use efficiency and yield.

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