NIAB - National Institute of Agricultural Botany

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PRESS RELEASE: NIAB TAG’s research and knowledge exchange programme receives a £1.25 million boost

14 June 2011

NIAB TAG has received funding of £1.25 million to further develop its independent crop and agronomy research and knowledge exchange programmes.

The new resources will safeguard NIAB TAG’s unique long-term farming systems studies and boost the organisation’s firm commitment to the communication of openly funded agronomic research to farmers and the agricultural industry.

“The funds have been secured from three eastern counties charities that have a focus on agricultural research and knowledge exchange; the Morley Agricultural Foundation (TMAF), the Felix Cobbold Trust and the JC Mann Trust, and are split across three research projects,” says Ron Stobart, head of crop research communication at NIAB TAG. “The charities have supported some very important research with us in the past and we’re grateful for their continued commitment.”

The New Farming Systems (NFS) long-term rotation study has been granted a continuation of funding for a further five years by the Morley Agricultural Foundation and the JC Mann Trust. The project is investigating new ways of improving system sustainability, maintaining output and reducing the environmental footprint of conventional farming by examining fertility building, tillage systems and soil amendments.

The Felix Cobbold Trust has continued its funding of the Sustainability Trial in Arable Rotations (STAR) project for a further two years. As a fully-replicated field trial STAR has been examining the interaction between four cultivation methods and four rotations since 2005, with a focus on investigating changes in soil structure, mycotoxin risk and weed burdens.

The Morley Agricultural Foundation has also renewed its backing for NIAB TAG’s valuable National Agronomy Centre (NAC) initiative for a further five years. The project is delivered through a combination of charitable funding and supporter donations with three hub sites in Norfolk, Hampshire and Lincolnshire.

“The NAC project aims to build our understanding of agricultural systems, promote best practice and underpin a grower’s strategic decision-making on farm, as well as acting as a conduit to other charitable and levy funded research. Programmes within the initiative include applied agronomy, long-term monitoring of responses, application research and field-scale evaluations and demonstrations,” says Mr Stobart.