Harper Adams secures £400,000 grant for crop protection projects.

Two researchers at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire have been awarded funds totalling £400,000 for crop protection projects.  One of the projects will look at how soil-borne diseases affect oilseed rape yeilds.

Government-backed Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has granted £365k to the University to fund research into increasing oilseed rape yields.  Peter Mills, Vice-principal at Harper Adams, explained that "Oilsee rape frequently doesn't achieve its full yield potential.  We belive that this is because there are previously overlooked soil-borne diseases that affect the crop".

The five-year project, led by Velcourt, will bring together agricultural industry partners including Harper Adams, NIAB, TAG, Limagrain and Hutchinsons.  the study will investigate how widespread these pathogens are, then screen oilseed rape varieties for tolerance or resistance to the pathogens.  It will also aim to develop control strategies for these diseases.

The other project to secure funding is led by Simon Edwards who will receive £58k to look at developing strategies against fusarium head blight (FHB) in malting barley. Professor Edwards said the project will establish the links between agronomy, causal pathogens and severity of FHB and the subsequent impact on the safety and functional properties of barley for malting and brewing.  He went on to say that findings from the project will provide vital information on the need to manage FHB in UK barley in relation to minimising further malting and brewing problems in the industry chain.

The study is being led by Velcourt in partnership with the University of Nottingham, SAB Miller, Syngenta Crop Protection, Snygenta Seeds and Openfield.

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