Awards & Cups

Winners of the 2023 NIAB Cereals and Varieties Cups being presented with the cups at Cereals Event

Celebrating success and innovation in UK crop science and agriculture

Our trio of industry awards are a fantastic opportunity for NIAB to celebrate and reward innovation, hard work, knowledge and success by the agricultural industry.

Our oldest prize, the NIAB Cereals Cup, was first awarded in 1953 to the spring barley Proctor and past winners have included Einstein winter wheat in 2005, Pearl winter barley in 2004, Skyfall winter wheat in 2015 and Robigus winter wheat in 2019. The Cup was awarded to the winter wheat KWS Extase in 2023.

The NIAB Variety Cup was first awarded in 1986 to the cauliflower White Rock, with past winners including Libravo winter oilseed rape in 1990, perennial ryegrasses Aberdart in 2003 and Abergreen in 2015, Roberta sugar beet in 2004 and the red onion Red Baron in 2019. In 2023 the Variety Cup was awarded to the winter wheat Crusoe

For these two awards varieties of all types of agricultural and horticultural crops are reviewed on an annual basis by NIAB technical staff, checking agronomic performance, end-use suitability and market influence. All aspects of performance are taken into account when making the decision with information from variety trials, grower experience as well as the milling, malting and feeding industries to ensure an overall view is taken in selecting the winner. It takes a truly exceptional variety to win either cup and NIAB can go several years without making an award.

The NIAB Agronomy Cup is our newcomer having only began in 2012. It celebrates practical agronomic science and skills by young agriculturalists, with past winners including IBERS - Aberystwyth University (2017, 2018 and 2019), Royal Agricultural University (2014) and Easton and Otley College (2013).

Bentley Nelstrop Award for Enterprise and Innovation

This annual in-house staff award, initiated by former NIAB Trustee Bentley Nelstrop, is in recognition of an individual’s or team’s exceptional contribution to innovation and enterprise at NIAB.

Nominations for the award can be in the areas of scientific research, business processes or a contribution to NIAB’s position in the market place, including new products and services. Other factors are taken into account including any financial benefit to NIAB, a streamlining of systems and procedures and possible savings and public relations and the applicant’s contribution to the good name of NIAB.

The Medal itself was designed by sculptor Janet MacLeod, wife of former NIAB Director John MacLeod, and features a plant cell in the anaphase stage of mitosis.

Bentley Nelstrop was a NIAB Trustee from June 2000 to November 2008, although his involvement with NIAB spanned a period of 30 years. He served as Chairman of the NIAB Council, a member of the NIAB Trust and NIAB Board and was on both the Potato and Sugar Beet Trials Advisory Committees. During his tenure as a Trustee, Bentley was very supportive of the work undertaken at NIAB and since his retirement continues to support the work by sponsoring the annual staff award.

Check out our previous winners