Farming systems

The average farm rotation uses a range of crops and cultivation approaches. It is important that research considers the rotation as a whole and the interaction of the individual elements (as well as looking at these aspects in isolation). Recognising both the practical and strategic importance of these areas, dedicated farming systems research is being actively pursued within NIAB, and our unique expertise continues to push the boundaries in this type of research. The Morley Agricultural Foundation (TMAF) is a key funder of many of NIAB’s wide range of long-term farming systems research projects, along with the other funders JC Mann Trust and the Felix Cobbold Trust, with members of the NIAB Farming Systems team based at Morley in Norfolk and at Cambridge.

Examples of current research projects include:

  • New Farming Systems - a series of long term studies seeking to develop bio-sustainable cropping systems for conventional arable cropping
  • STAR - a fully replicated field-scale study examining the interaction between four cultivation methods and four rotations
  • Morley Long Term Trials (LOTS) – a continuation of NIAB's original National Agronomy Centre and MENTOR work, covering many of the long-term strategic field trials, including the Saxmundham Experimental site (est. 1899) and long-term wheat, barley and sugar beet fungicide response trials
  • Morley Soil and Agronomic Monitoring Study (Morley SAMS), set-up by TMAF and delivered through NIAB. A network of 30 monitoring sites have been identified using ten years of yield maps at Morley. A comprehensive set of soil and crop specific agronomic  measures aim to link soil health and its impacts on yield, profitability and resilience.

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