NEWS: Rothamsted Research and NIAB join forces at Broom’s Barn farm

29 Jan 2015

Rothamsted Research



Rothamsted Research, Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT) and NIAB have signed an agreement to jointly use the Broom’s Barn farm for field experiments.

Broom's Barn aerial 

Rothamsted Research and NIAB have a long history and strong tradition in carrying out collaborative research, which will be further strengthened by sharing the farm at Broom’s Barn , near Bury St Edmunds. The two renowned organisations are committed in using efficiently the resources available to carry out excellent science and deliver knowledge and innovation that serves the farming community.

NIAB and Rothamsted Research, which is strategically funded by the BBSRC, will formally initiate the joint use of the 70 ha Broom’s Barn farm from 1st April 2015, but plans have been laid well before then. It will be a mix of trials designed to fully exploit the opportunities that the location offers and will include Rothamsted Research and NIAB collaborative projects.  An eight-member Steering Group (four members from each organisation) will be responsible for the governance of the joint use of the experimental farm. The day-to-day management of the farm will be carried out by NIAB farm staff, supported by some of the existing Rothamsted Research farm staff.

The joint use of the farm by NIAB and Rothamsted Research is a new chapter in the history of this important facility, ensuring that it will continue to contribute to the advancement of agricultural science in the UK.

Professor Achim Dobermann, Director & Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research commented: “Broom’s Barn has played a major role in agricultural research in the UK in the past. This agreement is a first step towards re-vitalising this important research facility to become an integral component of research on designing the next generation of sustainably managed arable systems in the UK. No institution can succeed in this alone. We need more coordinated action that builds on complementary strength. That is why I am excited about this new partnership with NIAB.”

Dr Tina Barsby, Director and Chief Executive of NIAB said: “This agreement represents an important step forward for both research organisations, not only in extending our combined crop trialling and field experimentation capabilities, but also in building closer scientific collaboration between our research teams in complementary areas of expertise. NIAB looks forward to working in partnership with Rothamsted Research to deliver improved crop production systems for UK farmers and growers.”

Building on the sugar beet research work at Dunholme, purchased by LAT in 1959 and opened in 1962 as a specialist sugar beet centre, Broom’s Barn has enjoyed a rich history of investigating the science of crop weeds, pests and diseases and their control as well as agronomy and yield studies.  Working closely with the farming community it has long had an excellent long reputation for delivering exciting, world-class science that was relevant to the needs of agricultural businesses. More recently, working with the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO), it continued to confirm its place as the UK centre of excellence for sugar beet research and as the first place to go for independent, practical advice. A year ago Rothamsted Research took the difficult decision to change its operation at Broom’s Barn and it has been using it as an additional field site for increasing the range of arable experiments critical for the Institute’s work.


About NIAB

NIAB is a major international centre for plant research, crop evaluation and agronomy – a unique national resource, with nearly 100 years of experience and an internationally recognised reputation for independence, innovation and integrity. With headquarters in Cambridge and regional offices across the country, NIAB spans the crop development pipeline, with the specialist knowledge, skills and facilities required to support the improvement of agricultural and horticultural crop varieties, to evaluate their performance and quality, and to ensure these advances are transferred into on-farm practice through efficient agronomy.

About Rothamsted Research

We are the longest running agricultural research station in the world, providing cutting-edge science and innovation for nearly 170 years. Our mission is to deliver the knowledge and new practices to increase crop productivity and quality and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production. Our strength lies in the integrated, multidisciplinary approach to research in plant, insect and soil science.

Rothamsted Research is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In 2013-2014 Rothamsted Researched received a total of £32.9M from the BBSRC.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond. Funded by Government, BBSRC invested over £484M in world-class bioscience in 2013-14. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.