Crop science and production systems

Utilisation and development of the perennial crop habit provides a sustainable and economic means of securing food supplies in a growing population and a changing climate.

The RECP programme focuses on the complete production-to-supply chain and tackles challenges associated with climate change, food security, food chain quality and resource use efficiency, to optimise economic and environmental sustainability. It has three main areas of research:

  1. delivering resource use efficiencies for water, fertilisers and labour, as key components of optimising environmental and economically sustainable food production. This major theme develops crop-based knowledge to facilitate our fundamental understanding of resource demand based on crop requirements.
  2. understanding crop and environmental interactions that enable crops to tolerate abiotic stress in sub-optimal environments, while maintaining yields and quality. The consequences of climate change and/or increased climate variability for food security requires research that focuses on the development of crops and cropping systems appropriate for current UK conditions and resilient to future conditions.
  3. manipulating below-ground biotic interactions which contribute to crop yield and quality. Currently there is only limited mechanistic knowledge of the role of soil biota for crop performance. We are developing our understanding of these processes and promoting ways by which the root–hyphal–soil interface can be manipulated to improve yields and quality