Oct. 31, 2016
UK scientists have shared new, groundbreaking updates in crop research at an industry event called 'New Frontiers' in London.
With over 40 delegates from 25 organisations across the UK in attendance, the event fostered and saw an interdisciplinary environment essential for innovation in the agricultural sector.
The nine research talks focused on enhancing growth and crop yields, improving quality and sustainability.
Dr Toby Bruce of Rothamsted Research, described a new system ‘CROPROTECT’ to improve access to information about crop protection.
CROPROTECT is available on mobile devices accessed either as a website or via smartphone apps.
Funded by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Innovation Club (SARIC), it provides farmers and agronomists with guidance on pest, weed and disease management.
The system already has over 900 pioneer users, not only does it provide management recommendations to users, it also provides useful feedback from users about the priorities of the UK arable sector.
Dr Jim Monaghan, of Harper-Adams University, outlined a genetic approach to improving postharvest quality in lettuce.
The project funded under the Horticulture and Potato Initiative (HAPI), is gaining a better understanding of the genetic and biochemical regulation of post-harvest discolouration (pinking and browning).
This may be a major reason why fresh produce fails to meet shelf life targets, adding to the high wastage in the UK salad industry (a value of £2.39M annually, with nearly 75% due to loss of quality).
Dr Lionel Dupuy, of the James Hutton Institute, presented the Crop Improvement Research Club (CIRC) funded project on high throughput root phenotyping and development of models to predict how crops utilise environmental resources to grow and produce yield.
Although at an early stage, the technologies being developed within this project already show potential for applications in crop breeding.
“BBSRC is the UK’s largest public funder of agricultural research and the projects presented at the conference showcase how we bring together researchers in academia and industry to solve challenges in a way that will advance the UK bioeconomy,” said James Phillips, BBSRC Senior Business Interaction Manager.