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Project LeaderGrowth model preparatory sequential digs
Determination of dry matter growth and sugar partitioning will be determined from sequential harvests carried out by the Research and Development department of British Sugar plc in 2010. These data will be valuable for independent tests of a future updated Broom's Barn sugar beet growth model.
MemberAdapting the Broom′s Barn sugar beet growth model to todays conditions
The Broom’s Barn sugar beet growth model is an important tool used for providing advice and for research. The model worked well in the past: simulated yields closely matched actual yields across a wide range of environments and soils. However, the model was built and calibrated using data from 1980 to1991, and since then, varieties and management practices have changed. To remain relevant, the model needs updating by tuning its components to improved varieties and management practices, such as widespread use of new fungicides and better seed treatments.
In the UK, at least 10% of the wheat yield is lost each year due to insufficient soil moisture, with greater losses on light soils or in very dry years. Therefore, crops frequently fail to attain their potential output because water supply cannot keep pace with demand, often during critical stages of yield formation. Recent record-breaking dry conditions reinforce the need to find ways to maximise productivity when water is limiting. Research has shown that wheat varieties can be fundamentally different in their susceptibility to dry conditions. However, growers have little guidance on which of the current varieties is best suited for dry conditions. The main aim of this work is to help enable the identification of superior wheat varieties for water-limited conditions.
This project aims to develop novel mathematical approaches, based on non-linear mathematics and stochastic modelling, to analyse and predict the behaviour of complex agricultural and biological systems underpinning predictive systems biology. Key objectives of the project are:
After the 2006 reform of the EU Sugar Regime, the UK sugar industry is likely to have to match its production more closely to the size of its European market because subsidized exports are likely to be disallowed. In these conditions the industry must be able to plan production more precisely if it is to remain profitable. For the last three years the most important detraction from sugar beet growers' profits has been to consistently produce a surplus of more than 20%. This research by Broom's Barn and British Sugar will produce a decision support system based on independent research, performance as an aid to deciding the area to plant.Benchmarking grower′s production to the potential yield set by the environment
This proposal is to build a decision support tool to both analyse past production and forecast this seasons’ production for individual farmers, via the internet. To achieve this, the system will have to be tailored to an analysis of the production record of these farmers. Similar, individual-farmer systems are being developed to schedule sugar cane harvest amongst individual paddocks in whole processing regions in Queensland, Australia.
If sugar beet freeze sufficiently badly and then thaw, they can no longer be processed to extract sugar. Beet are usually harvested by Christmas and stored in insulated clamps to eliminate the risk of freezing. Even under good storage conditions, sugar beet loose 1.8% of their sugar every 10 days.
The weather has a fundamental influence on crop growth and yield. Modern sugar beet production planning (timing husbandry operations, prediction of crop canopy development, pests and diseases control, soil moisture/irrigation needs, improved local yield forecasts and better processing management and factory operation) already rely on weather data. Despite this reliance, weather data is rarely available immediately and is not sufficiently local to be really valuable.
The Defra Reference Book, RB209, which recommends how fertilisers should be used in UK agriculture, is being revised. For sugar beet, in particular, an analysis of a major series of nitrogen (N) fertilizer experiments in the 1990’s found no relationship between optimum dose of N fertilizer and Soil Mineral N (at sowing or in May) on mineral soils to which no organic manure had been added since the previous summer. Such crops represent more than 65% of that grown in the UK beet. In addition, the current estimates of inorganic N fertilizer use on beet indicates that, on average, applications to the national crop exceed the RB209 recommendation by about 10% (i.e. approximately 11kg N/ha). Clearly we need a new basis for the N fertilizer recommendations for the beet crop for the new version of RB209. The basis of these recommendations must be sufficiently transparent to be convincing to growers, advisors and those using RB209 for regulatory purposes (e.g. Environment Agency).
1)Evaluation of the relative drought tolerance of current wheat varieties using multi-location variety trial data (breeders’ trials and Recommended List Official variety trials).
During 2007, input costs and returns changed greatly for arable farmers in the UK. Fertiliser prices have doubled pesticides costs have increased at more than twice the rate of inflation and the price of diesel has risen around 50%. These increases, combined with the effect of the sugar regime changes on the returns from sugar beet, are causing growers to question the levels of inputs that they should use. In many cases the increased costs will not alter the inputs required for optimal economic return. However, there are limits to what farmers can afford and, in some cases, an alternative strategy for inputs may be required, if not now then possibly very soon if costs continue to rise.
Virus yellows remains an annual threat to the UK sugar industry because the maritime climate favours the overwintering survival of the host plants and the aphid species that transmit these viruses to the crop. The key viruses involved within the virus yellows 'complex' are Beet mild yellowing virus (BMYV) and Beet yellows virus (BYV), while Beet chlorosis virus (BChV), first identified in the UK in the early 1990s, now plays an important role in the epidemiology of the disease. The overall objective of this proposal is to provide the industry with timely advice on appropriate control measures which have optimum effect, are cost effective and are least damaging to the environment.
It is estimated that each year the UK sugar industry loses a minimum of £5M worth of extractable sugar while beet are being stored on farms prior to being processed. Most of this loss is due to respiration of the beet and regrowth of shoots. Studies which aim to test ways to minimize these loses are difficult and expensive to conduct. An alternative to empirical tests to attempt to optimize storage conditions is to conduct virtual experiments with computer simulations of changes in sugar yield and beet quality during storage. This project will create a model of changes in the internal environment of beet storage piles in relation to changes in the weather conditions so that loses of sugar yield and extractability can be predictedModelling beet yields in Sweden
The beet sugar producer/processor joining company in Sweden (SBU) wants to benchmark individual growers' performance at producing beet against the potential set by their environment (soil and weather). This project involves turning the Broom's Barn Crop Growth Model to conditions in S. Sweden and listing it against productivity in trials in growers fields.Using multi-environment variety trial data to screen for drought tolerance
Insufficient moisture during summer months limits UK sugar beet production more than any other single factor. Climate change models predict that summers will got hotter and drier, giving production areas with deep, water retentive soils a competitive advantage. To maintain productivity under these conditions, new, more drought-tolerant varieties are required. In addition, varieties that are less sensitive to the prevailing moisture supply should exhibit greater site-to-site and year-to-year yield stability, improving management decisions for growers and processors. Currently, breeders are not equipped to make these selections (although in other proposed work we address this issue), and there is no mechanism in place for judging the relative drought performance of varieties entered into official variety trials. In a previous BBRO-funded project, we showed that by assigning a drought stress index (DSI) to each trial location, certain varieties showed significantly better yields when water was limiting, while other showed good performance in the absence of drought, but performed poorly when conditions were dry. This type of information would be extremely useful to farmers, processors and seed companies if included as a standard characterisation of all variety trial entries every year. By evaluating data already gathered in variety trials, additional value is added to this investment. From the previous work we already have a database of soil types for nearly each field used in the UK variety trials. Automatic rainfall gauges at each trial location would eliminate reliance on costly, slow or incomplete weather data sources. The outcome of the proposed work will be a drought tolerance rating for Recommended List varieties. Furthermore, seed companies will be encouraged to take up the procedures for evaluation of in-house variety trials, giving them an additional drought tolerance screening tool to increase the prospect of improved varieties being introduced.Vulnerability of UK agriculture to extreme events
This project aims to fill knowledge gaps relating to crop production in the UK and extreme weather events as a consequence of climate change. The main objectives are:
Operates two national networks for monitoring insect populations in the UK. More...
Provides the research community access to a range of in situ state-of-the-art instrumentation in hydrologically isolated fields and farms to better address key issues in sustainable agriculture. More...
A database of interactions between pathogens and their hosts maintained at Rothamsted Research with international input. More...
These have been running since the mid 19th Century, provide a unique experimental system and archive of soil and plant samples. More...
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strategic funding from the BBSRC
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