Autumn 2023

Future-proofing Agrii’s research

Dr Ruth Mann
Head of Integrated Crop Technologies

Agrii’s strength is delivering agronomic advice completely backed by our own research to ensure sustainable and profitable farming systems. Our research is currently completed in replicated small plot and tramline trials located on 28 iFarms and Technology hubs spread across the UK. Additionally, we also co-ordinate many farmer led split field demonstration type trials to ensure any results proven in replicated small plot work can be scaled up to real life crop production using large machinery.

In any year, Agrii will have more than 300 trials across all major crop types in the UK including cereals, fruit, oilseeds, potatoes and vegetables. In these trials, we determine optimal varieties in different parts of the country, efficacy of crop protection products and how we can create programmes or enhance uptake using adjuvants to deliver optimal crop yields or additive benefits of integrated crop management programmes, for example.

As UK agriculture and horticulture embraces new farming systems, technology and products, the research completed at Agrii also needs to embrace new methods to test products and services effectively, ensuring we continue to provide the best expert agronomic advice. Therefore, Agrii has invested in a state-of-the-art glasshouse to be positioned at Throws Farm. By investing in this technology, we enhance the capability within the research and development team.

Many future solutions will require more in-depth analysis to determine how we obtain the maximum benefit from interventions with products. These will include determining exact modes of action, timing of application and environmental conditions favourable to product efficacy, for example. Having a glasshouse where we can create these conditions as well as controlling the timing of pathogen infection or pest infestation will permit Agrii to fully understand all benefits provided by products.

In certain sectors, such as fruit production, the use of robotics to manage crops and apply products is gaining momentum. We will be able to match these technological advances in our own fruit trials, keeping our research relevant and valuable to growers.

Additionally, many products contain similar active ingredients, biocontrol agents or micronutrients. We need to be able to effectively screen these products quickly. When completed in the glasshouse, these screens are very cost effective and ensure only those products with the greatest efficacy and selectivity are chosen for further field-based research trials.

These learnings from the glasshouse can then be applied to small scale plot trials, tramline trials and farmer led field scale trials ensuring we consider every aspect of sustainable crop production and help our growers proactively achieve their optimal triple bottom line.

In any year, Agrii will have more than 300 trials across all major crop types in the UK.

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Look out for us at:

British Carrot Growers Association Demonstration Day
Date: Thursday 5th October 23
Location: Huntapac Produce, North Yorkshire

Elsoms Open Day
Dates: Wednesday 11th & Thursday 12th October 23
Location: Spalding, Lincolnshire.