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Cereals in Practice moves to NE Scotland

Experts will be on hand to offer advice (c) James Hutton Institute
"The many experts on hand from the James Hutton Institute will include barley geneticist Dr Bill Thomas, Dr Joanne Russell, Dr Mark Looseley, Dr Tim George, Professor Adrian Newton and soil scientist Willie Towers.

Cereals in Practice, the annual showcase of variety trials and research organised by the James Hutton Institute and Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), is again taking place on 2 July 2015. The event offers a range of advice and information for farmers, agronomists and the trade.

Recent Cereals in Practice events have been held in Tayside but this year’s Aberdeenshire venue, at Kirkton Farm, Kinellar, offers an opportunity to show the extensive range of work in the North East on sustainable systems of crop production, funded by the Scottish Government, AHDB Cereals and individual trial sponsors.

Experts from the James Hutton Institute and SRUC will be available for guided tours and more tailored conversations, and there will be demonstrations on crops compatible with CAP greening requirements. Other areas of interest include innovative work on new varieties, alternatives to pesticides, efficient use of nutrients and soil health.

The many experts on hand from the James Hutton Institute will include barley geneticist Dr Bill Thomas, Dr Joanne Russell, Dr Mark Looseley, Dr Tim George, Professor Adrian Newton and soil scientist Willie Towers. They will cover subjects such as the role of soils in the production of cereals, the potential of heritage barley cultivars to improve current varieties, and how to capture and enhance health benefits through modern breeding techniques.

Dr Bill Thomas points out that 2015 is the 50th anniversary of the first recommendation of Maris Otter as a winter malting barley.

“Two projects at the James Hutton Institute are identifying the factors that lead to good processing quality, so that newer winter barley varieties can be developed that combine the agronomic attributes of current winter varieties with improved malting quality and the processing qualities of Maris Otter.”

For respected soil scientist Willie Towers 2015 has been a busy year. It is the International Year of Soils, designated by the UN through its Food and Agriculture Organisation arm, and Cereals in Practice is one of a number of events in which the value and uniqueness of Scottish Soils are being celebrated.

“Soil is fundamental to the production of all agricultural crops and key features for plant growth are texture, carbon content, structure, stoniness, porosity and natural drainage,” says Willie. “These vary with depth and although the surface horizon is most important, it is influenced by subsoil conditions. Other properties, such as pH and nutrient concentrations, can be manipulated but their efficiency is affected by these more intrinsic properties.” 

Dr Fiona Burnett, Head of SRUC Crops and Soils Research Group, is excited about what the new venue offers.

“We run a complex and extensive range of trials in the North East encompassing grass, cereals and oilseeds, as well as differing systems of production including mixed and organic so there is a wealth of experience and knowledge which hasn’t been opened to the public for many years.”

Joining Dr Burnett will be pest management specialist Dr Andy Evans, weeds expert Dr Mark Ballingall and crop physiologist Dr Steve Hoad. His colleague Dr Ian Bingham will be demonstrating SRUC’s research to underpin improvements in the efficiency of nitrogen use by barley.

“Our previous research has shown that nitrogen use efficiency can be increased through breeding. But more recently we have been investigating some of the mechanisms involved and found that old and modern varieties have a high capacity for N uptake after flowering, but differ in the way they utilize the N.”

The James Hutton Institute and SRUC acknowledge the assistance of the Scottish Government and AHDB Cereals for funding research and trials. Cereals in Practice is also sponsored by the Scottish Society for Crop Research.

More information from: 

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

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Printed from /news/cereals-practice-moves-ne-scotland on 25/05/19 10:56:05 AM

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.