03 October 2008
Hundreds of visitors to Ely Cathedral were able to learn first hand how innovative scientists at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany are researching new crops.
They were invited by the eastern region’s NFU to participate in the cathedral’s harvest festival on 11 and 12 October with the underlying theme Farming Past, Present and Future.
NIAB’s display demonstrated the wide ranging research projects their scientists are involved with, including a medicinal plant, multi coloured carrots and animal feed.
Scientist Dr Lydia Smith said: “We chose the set of crops we have here to show there is more to field crops than wheat and barley and oilseed rape, which many people think are England’s only crops. There are also an increasing diversity of vegetables and other field crops, such as lupins, linseed, sunflower peas and field beans."
“There are some new species here too, which may enter the UK farm landscape, like the Artemisia plant, which contain a chemical with medicinal properties to treat malaria. We also brought a sample of Triticale; this is a cross between wheat and rye and is a high yielding, disease resistant animal feed."
“Our eye catching carrots in purple, yellow and white also attracted lots of attention. They are presently being developed with a breeding company."
“We were delighted to have this opportunity to reach out to larger audiences here and demonstrate the kind of research projects we do as part of farming for the future.”
Further information is available from Dr Lydia Smith