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ClimateChange@Hutton - Agriculture

climate change hutton agriculture

Agriculture is inescapably entwined with Scotland’s landscape, and so any changes to our climate will impact on the types of crop we can grow and how much food they produce. At the James Hutton Institute, we are working on several strands of research to make sure that agriculture in Scotland is adapted to climate change and that it is resilient to weather extremes (abiotic stress), pests and pathogens (biotic stress) and changes in global markets. This is central to our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) work.

From breeding new varieties of barley, soft fruit and potatoes that grow well in future climate conditions, providing breeding tools and resources for a wide range of crops, and archiving seeds and forming databases of crop genetics, the Institute is at the forefront of Scottish and UK crop research. Additionally, we are working to help farmers adapt their management practices to increase soil carbon and productivity, develop novel tools for detecting crop stress, store more water during periods of drought and develop new ways of maintaining and increasing biodiversity within agricultural landscapes. Increasing and exploiting biodiversity in breeding, in crop production (e.g. intercropping) and in crop management at farm and landscape scale is key to promoting ecosystem services and agricultural sustainability and building resilience against climate change-driven environmental stress.

Our research farms at Balruddery and Glensaugh are actively exploring techniques and technologies to make sure that Scotland’s agricultural industry is prepared for future changes in the climate. Examples include: growing new crop varieties and exploring different crop management practices and rotations (e.g. at the Centre for Sustainable Cropping); investigating the potential for agroforestry to improve soil conditions and crop productivity; producing renewable energy and ‘carbon farming’ (e.g. at the Glensaugh Climate-Positive Farming Initiative); and testing out methods for reducing fertiliser and pesticide applications while maintaining yields. Two of the key facilities for this will be the Advanced Plant Growth Centre (APGC) and International Barley Hub, announced in 2018 as part of a £62 million investment in the Institute within the Tay Cities Deal development programme.

Finally, the Institute is also working on the design of local food systems (community-based, as well as technology-based) as a means of both reducing carbon emission sand reducing food insecurity. This is being done to meet the Government's Net Zero Carbon Emission goals as well as international Sustainable Development Goal targets.

Contact Ali Karley or Mike Rivington for further information.


Areas of Interest

Printed from /research/climatechangehutton/climate-change-and-agriculture on 04/03/24 10:51:06 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.