NIAB TAG champions the role of independent variety and agronomic research in cereals, oilseeds, pulses, grass and fodder crops, maize, sugar beet, field vegetables and non-food crops, working across the UK agriculture sector.

It brings together field-based variety evaluation and crop husbandry research and expertise in interpretation and dissemination, with the specialist field and laboratory capabilities of NIAB’s plant pathology team.

FOCUS ON: Overcoming black-grass resistance

The development of novel approaches for blackgrass control is the primary focus of NIAB TAG’s National Black-grass Research Centre near Cambridge, supported by its sister site at Wragby in Lincolnshire. Alongside research into  traditional cultural and chemical techniques, research is also looking at more radical control methods including inter-row spraying, herbicide synergists and nano-technology.

FOCUS ON: Cultivations and rotations

Long-term rotation studies are rare in our industry due to short-term commercial and financial pressures, but they can provide powerful agronomic and financial information for UK farmers. Part of NIAB TAG’s charitably funded strategic rotation research programme, the STAR (Sustainability Trial for Arable Rotations) project is a fully replicated field-scale study, based in Suffolk. It has been examining the interaction between four cultivation methods and four rotations since 2005 with findings demonstrating clear impacts of rotation and cultivation on agronomy and production. AHDB-funded research, using a set of long-term studies including STAR, examined the impact of adopting inversion tillage or non-inversion tillage approaches in cereal production systems and concluded that there was no strong reason not to use non-inversion tillage in preference to ploughing.