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Rothamsted Research and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences establish a joint Centre for the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture

The UK-China joint Centre for the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture (CSIA) will be an open platform for research, knowledge exchange and capacity building.

Today (Tuesday 24th November) Rothamsted Research, which is strategically funded by the BBSRC, and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) signed into effect a Co-operation Agreement outlining plans to establish the UK-China joint Centre for the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture (CSIA).  Rothamsted Research and numerous prestigious Chinese organisations and scientists have long and established fruitful collaborations.

Future adaptation for wheat cultivation will be limited by adverse weather in Europe

Modelling predicts that shifting wheat production to different regions in Europe may not be possible by the end of the century, as exposure to adverse weather in European arable farming areas will increase.

In a modelling study, a group of international scientists, including Rothamsted Research, which is strategically funded by the BBSRC, explored the question on how climate change will alter the probability of adverse weather events in Europe by the end of the century. The study focused on wheat producing areas and examined how wheat cultivation adaptation strategies may be affected under the predicted scenarios.

The North Wyke site of Rothamsted Research launched as a LEAF Innovation Centre

The North Wyke site of Rothamsted Research becomes LEAF’s eighth Innovation Centre – a network of research organisations whose work supports the research, evidence, development and promotion of Integrated Farm Management.

A new LEAF Innovation Centre is being launched today by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), the leading organisation promoting sustainable farming. The North Wyke site of Rothamsted Research in Okehampton, Devon becomes the latest site to join LEAF’s network of Innovation Centres. It will showcase sustainable farming methods, particularly in the area of grassland systems, and support the development and promotion of sustainable farming through Integrated Farm Management.

Speaking at the launch today, Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of LEAF said:

Illuminating Life: Personal Encounters

A children and young adults Photo-story Competition as Rothamsted Research marks the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, 2015.

Rothamsted Research, which receives strategic funding from the BBSRC, is delighted to announce the children and young adults Photo-story Competition -Illuminating Life: Personal Encounters. This initiative forms part of the Institute’s celebration of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, 2015 (IYL2015).

Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: a synthesis of the available evidence

An economic analysis attempting to quantify the cumulative impact Rothamsted Research has had, suggests that the value of its annual contribution to feeding the nation is in excess of £3bn a year.

Foreword to the report by the Director & Chief Executive Professor Achim Dobermann

Role of pesticides in bee decline: a review of the natural science evidence base

A “restatement” of the evidence base has been published.

Whether neonicotinoids harm bees and other insect pollinators is one of the most contentious questions that environmental policy makers have to grapple with today.  In the last ten years over 400 scientific papers have been published on this topic, some contradicting each other, making it very difficult for non-specialists to access the entire evidence base.

Agrimetrics: the first Centre for Agricultural Innovation is open for business

Ministers George Eustice and George Freeman formally launch Agrimetrics.

Today (Monday 26 October), George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment and George Freeman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Life Sciences, officially launched Agrimetrics, the world’s first Big Data Centre of Excellence for the whole food system.

Scientists work to help wheat fend off Fusarium

A decade of Fusarium research.

The model plant Arabidopsis, infected by Fusarium, is used to advance understanding of how Fusarium infects wheat.  

Update on pyrethroid resistance in Cabbage Stem Flea Beetles

Rothamsted Research scientists detect significant levels of pyrethroid resistance in Cabbage Stem Flea Beetles in South East England.

Cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB), Psylliodes chrysocephala, is a major pest of winter oilseed rape (OSR) in several European countries particularly attacking young emerging plants in autumn. Up until December 2013, seedlings were protected by neonicotinoid seed treatments. An EU-imposed restriction, currently in place for these compounds when applied to OSR seed, has resulted in growers having to use the only alternative; pyrethroid sprays.

Genestack Secures Innovate UK Grant

New grant will see Genestack, in collaboration with Rothamsted Research, expanding capabilities into agri-genomics.

Genestack, the developer of a next generation enterprise platform for genomics research and development, has secured £90,000 through an Innovate UK grant.

Wheat choice has lasting effect on soil health and yield

Researchers examine the effects of growing high and low take-all building susceptible wheat on the make-up of the soil bacterial community.

Scientists investigating how to control take-all, a fungus that lives in soil and infects wheat roots to cause disease, have discovered that different varieties of wheat have distinct and lasting impacts on the health of the soil in which they are grown.

Rothamsted Research Annual Report 2014

Rothamsted Research had a successful year and made considerable progress towards its strategic objectives in 2014.

Rothamsted Research does world-class research that aims to provide the knowledge, innovation and new practices necessary to increase crop productivity and quality, and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production. From doing excellent science, nurturing talent and fostering career development, to investing in infrastructure and campus development, Rothamsted Research made significant national and international contributions in 2014.

A fast and easily achieved method for propagating disease-free willow spells good news for traditional breeding schemes

Rothamsted Research scientists make advances in biotechnology, with a method for propagating willow free of disease, in a shorter time, with less labour compared to traditional willow breeding.

Scientists at Rothamsted Research have used a fast and easily achieved method for multiplying a wide range of willows. The method, a form of micro-propagation, produced more plants which were free of disease, in a shorter time, with less labour compared to traditional willow breeding methods. The disease-free plants were exported to, and grown in, Canada; a country, like many others, where the risk of the spread of willow borne diseases often causes a ban on importation.

Nuffield student represents the UK at the EU Contest for Young Scientist

Ellen Piercy, from the 2014 Nuffield Research Placement Scheme at Rothamsted Research, is one of two students representing the UK at the European Union Contest for Young Scientist.

Ellen Piercy joined Rothamsted Research in 2014 as a Nuffield Research Placement student for 5 weeks. Ellen was an A-level student from St Albans School and upon completion of her project at Rothamsted she has been selected as one of the two students representing  the UK at the 27th European Union Contest for Young Scientists that is happening in Milan during the 17th to 22nd September, 2015.

Nocturnal migrant songbirds and moths sense the wind currents and use the wind differently to assist them with their journeys

Two recently published studies show that moths can detect turbulence and take full advantage of the wind to assist them with their journey, a strategy different from that of songbirds.

Moths and songbirds have an internal compass to help them navigate during their high-flying nocturnal journeys between Europe and Africa.

No laughing matter: new research to study nitrous oxide from sheep urine patches in the uplands

Rothamsted Research, in collaboration with other research institutions, is to begin new research which will examine the emission of nitrous oxide from uplands grazed by sheep.

Commonly known as ‘laughing gas’, and used in anaesthetics and as a ‘legal high’, nitrous oxide (N2O)  is a potent greenhouse gas produced by micro-organisms in the soil, especially on land grazed by animals.

Targeted increase of a naturally occurring sugar improves the yield of drought affected corn

Genetically altering the amounts of a naturally occurring sugar in corn is shown to substantially improve the yield of drought affected corn in the field.

A collaborative project between Syngenta and Rothamsted Research has shown that genetically altering the amounts of a naturally occurring sugar can substantially improve the yield of drought affected corn. The research is published in the journal of Nature Biotechnology.

New study sheds light on what’s happening in the cell walls of willow stems growing at an angle

Scientists at Rothamsted Research present a new understanding of carbohydrate distribution in the cell walls of willow reaction wood.

A new study by Rothamsted Research scientists, who are strategically funded by the BBSRC, has discovered that gelatinous fibres (or G-fibres), which make up a tissue called the gelatinous layer (or ‘G-layer’) of willow reaction wood, can be highly enriched with a specific complex carbohydrate. This enrichment of the cell wall makes willow reaction wood different from that of its close relative, poplar.

Management and resource limitations of water central factors behind two new Rothamsted Research projects

With funding from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Innovation Club (SARIC), Rothamsted Research will be addressing key challenges facing the UK farming industry.

As part of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Innovation Club (SARIC), developed and funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), together with industry partners, scientists at Rothamsted Research are soon to begin work on two major research projects.

A new climate-smart companion cropping system allows African farmers to substantially increase their yields

Rothamsted scientists, in partnership with icipe, have developed a climate-smart push-pull companion cropping system which allows smallholder African farmers to sustainably increase their agricultural production.

Using appropriate combinations of carefully selected companion crops, scientists at Rothamsted Research, in a collaborative project led by International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), have shown how smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa can increase their agricultural production amid the challenges posed by climate change.

The potential environmental harm of nanoparticles contained in sewage sludge

An international study, involving Rothamsted Research scientists, reveals the potential harm of tiny metal particles contained in treated sewage sludge.

A team of international scientists, including scientists from Rothamsted Research, have found that treated sewage sludge containing tiny man-made metal particles, called nanoparticles, may be toxic to plants and soil microorganisms. The build-up of what are man-made metal particles in sewage sludge has the potential to impact the use of this recycled material as an agricultural fertiliser.

Pyrethroid resistance monitoring in cabbage stem flea beetles – Call for Samples

A call for samples of cabbage stem flea beetle has been made by Rothamsted Research, for use in monitoring the development of pyrethroid resistance.

Cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) damage in the 2014 year contributed to estimated losses of 2.7% of the winter oilseed rape (WOSR) area in England and Scotland, although there was significant regional variation.

In Hampshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire 40% of the WOSR was reported as having damage levels at or above treatment thresholds.

Samples sent for testing at Rothamsted Research contained beetles that were strongly resistant to pyrethroids. As a result, Rothamsted is doing a follow up survey for resistance in 2015.

Opening up innovation in plant science

The Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise opens the Lawes Open Innovation Hub.

The Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise, RoCRE is leading a transformation in how advances in plant science can be translated into practical solutions for farmers in collaboration with the agricultural industry.

The newly opened Lawes Open Innovation Hub is targeted specifically at enhancing relationships between businesses and researchers to deliver new agricultural technology. Enterprises operating in the building will benefit from working alongside scientists from Rothamsted Research and their high level of expertise in a range of research areas.

‘The most ambitious of field studies’

Rothamsted Research features in a new book publication, The Story of Parliament: Celebrating 750 years of parliament in Britain.

Rothamsted Research, which is strategically funded by the BBSRC, features in a newly published book called The Story of Parliament: Celebrating 750 years of parliament in Britain. The book celebrates the 750th anniversary of Simon de Montfort’s Parliament of 1265—a key moment in the origins of parliament.

The world’s first Field Scanalyzer is up and running at Rothamsted Research

A unique facility for field phenotyping has been officially launched at Rothamsted Research.

A world first for automated measuring of crop growth and health in the field was installed for Rothamsted Research in 2015 by LemnaTec GmbH. This is the world’s largest and most sophisticated facility built today and will revolutionise the way that crop health and growth are monitored in the field. The development of the facility has been supported by Rothamsted Research and the BBSRC.