Skip to navigation Skip to content

Arable Scotland's Arable Conversations: Sustainable Rotations and Soils, Legumes, Cover Crops and Cash Crops

Arable Conversations publicity image
"What do we need to measure to understand if a rotation is sustainable, particularly in terms of cropping, soil, and climate change?"

Join us at Arable Scotland on 29th June for a virtual Arable Conversation with Pete Iannetta (James Hutton Institute), Ed Brown (Hutchinsons), Dick Neale (Hutchinsons), Christine Watson (SRUC) and Paul Hargreaves (SRUC), which will look at the topic of sustainable rotations. The panellists will discuss how soil health and soil function are impacted in positive and negative way by the choice of crop, and how that crop fits within a sustainable rotation.

Arable rotations are changing. The push to reduce farm traffic, reduce inputs of nutrients and pesticides, reduce greenhouse gas outputs, diversify the landscape, and protect and improving the status of our soil for the future are having an impact on the way we farm. How can we sustain or increase the value of our farming outputs, while achieving these goals? What do we need to measure to understand if a rotation is sustainable, particularly in terms of cropping, soil, and climate change? What are the barriers and benefits to increasing diversity, and introducing legumes and cover crops within rotations and grassland systems, particularly in Scottish contexts? 

Adaptation can take time and integrating a wide variety of changes can have variable results depending on geographical location, as well as  knock-on effects on soil, weeds, and yields

This Arable Conversation session will explore the development of sustainable rotations within this context. Experts in developing sustainable practices and rotations in both arable and grassland pasture systems will discuss the challenges and benefits of implementing sustainable rotations, including options for diversification, and implementing different sustainable soil management systems.  

Panellists taking part in the session led by Tracy Valentine, from the James Hutton Institute, include:

  • Christine Watson is Professor for Agricultural Systems at SRUC Scotland’s Rural College. Her interests focus on nutrient management in agricultural systems, and she has experience in a wide range of systems from arable through to pig and dairy systems.
  • Dick Neale is Technical manager at Hutchinsons Crop Protection, with expertise in soils, weed management and cover crops.
  • Ed Brown is Head of Agroecology for Hutchinsons and a consultant specialising in Agroecology, soil health and crop nutrition.  He also heads up the HLH Cover Crop range, helping farmers and agronomists successfully implement cover crops in a range of systems.
  • Pete Iannetta is a biologist and ecologist based at the James Hutton Institute. He studies the design of sustainable systems, with a special focus on legumes and biological fixation of nitrogen, by rhizobia and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria. 
  • Based at the SRUC Dairy Research and Innovation Centre in Dumfries, Paul Hargreaves is a soil scientist specialising in research into grasslands and forages.  He specialises in maintaining and enhancing soil quality, and how to reduce soil structural damage from the impact of farm traffic and livestock. He is exploring their effect on the compaction levels in soil and how they impact on crop yield and quality. He has recently been investigating the use of controlled traffic and wheelings on crop yield and soil loss. Other work involves EU projects in the use of novel legume mixtures and greenhouse gas emissions.

Delegates can take part in the Arable Conversations by using the hashtag #ArableScotland on Twitter to submit questions during the sessions.

Arable Scotland is delivered in partnership by the James Hutton Institute, Scotland's Rural College and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), with support from the Farm Advisory Service, SEFARI, The Scottish Farmer, Hutchinsons and the Scottish Society for Crop Research. Commercial exhibitors present at the event include Yara, CHAP Solutions, SoilEssentials, Corteva and Smart Rural.

The event is free to attend, and visitor registration is open at More information about the event is available at Five BASIS points will be available to delegates.

Press and media enquiries: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, James Hutton Institute, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

Printed from /news/arable-scotlands-arable-conversations-sustainable-rotations-and-soils-legumes-cover-crops-and on 01/12/23 08:37:54 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.