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The future of Rothamsted Research at Broom’s Barn

Rothamsted Research to change operations at their Broom’s Barn site

Rothamsted Research has taken a decision to change operations at their Broom’s Barn site

Rothamsted Research has taken a decision to change operations at their Broom’s Barn site. Previously a centre exclusively for sugar beet research, the site near Bury St Edmunds will be now be used as an additional field site for the increasing range of arable experiments at Rothamsted Research complementing their other field sites that are critical to its work. Rothamsted Research is continuing sugar beet research with its scientific expertise being moved and integrated into the teams at the Rothamsted main centre in Hertfordshire.

Opened in 1962 as a specialist sugar beet centre, Broom’s Barn has enjoyed a rich history of investigating the science of crop weeds, pests and diseases and their control as well as agronomy and yield studies. More recently, working with the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO), it confirmed its place as the UK centre of excellence for sugar beet research. Although BBRO has now made management decisions to operate a different model in Norwich, Rothamsted will continue to work with them as opportunities arise and we will continue to grow sugar beet at Broom’s Barn.

Acting Director at Rothamsted Research Professor Martin Parry said “whist a chapter in Broom’s Barn history ends, another one will now open”. He continued, “the facility at Broom’s Barn provides us with the valuable opportunity to compare arable crops and experimental farming systems in different part of the country with different environmental conditions. This site, in the arable part of East Anglia, will complement the experimental arable farms we have in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.  These are particularly valuable to us and the farming community that we serve”.

Sugar beet has unique biological mechanisms that allows it to produce significant quantities of readily available carbohydrate with limited sunlight. Sugar beet scientists at Rothamsted Research have a deep understanding of these mechanisms and they will play a vital role in developing this knowledge to support other BBSRC-funded research programmes at Rothamsted Research.

Professor Parry paid tribute to those who had already played a significant part in Broom’s Barn’s history. He said “we are fortunate to have had many great staff at Broom’s Barn, people such as in Philip Draycott, Mike Asher,Mike May and more recently Mark Stevens, as well as many others. I would like to thank all those who have contributed to Broom’s Barn’s success”.

Going forward, Rothamsted Research are considering options to develop the Broom’s Barn site into an arable Farm Platform, much like the grassland Farm Platform at their site at North Wyke in Devon.

For now, Brooms Barn will continue to play an important role in contributing to agricultural research for the UK and at Rothamsted Research, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, and in supporting the Government’s Agri-Tech Strategy.

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Rothamsted Press Office

For further information, please contact:

Dr Matina Tsalavouta (matina.tsalavouta@rothamsted.ac.uk), Tel: +44 (0) 1582 938 525

About Rothamsted Research

We are the longest running agricultural research station in the world, providing cutting-edge science and innovation for over 170 years. Our mission is to deliver the knowledge and new practices to increase crop productivity and quality and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production.

Our strength lies in the integrated, multidisciplinary approach to research in plant, insect and soil science.

Rothamsted Research is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In 2013-2014 Rothamsted Researched received a total of £32.9M from the BBSRC.

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, BBSRC invested over £509M in world-class bioscience in 2014-15. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes