What we do
Research on crop nutrition is divided into four areas:
- Quantity of crop nutrients. Different crops require different levels of plant nutrients to ensure maximum yield, quality and economic return. We undertake laboratory and field based experiments to establish optimum nutrient levels for agricultural and horticultural crops.
- Type of crop nutrients. Mineral fertilizers emit greenhouse gases during production and use so the search is on for more environmentally friendly alternatives. We undertake research into the use of composts, digestates, bio-solids and other organic amendments to determine their suitability for crop nutrition.
- Fate of crop nutrients. Nitrate and phosphate from mineral fertilizers are mobile in the environment and urea and organic manures emit ammonia. We undertake field research to trace and measures losses of these nutrients to the environment.
- Impact of crop nutrients. The use of crop nutrients has environmental impacts: climate change from greenhouse gases; eutrophication from nitrates and phosphates and acidification from fertilizers and the combustion of fossil fuels. We undertake research to identify and quantify these impacts.
- The use of digestates in strawberry production (WRAP)
- Nitrogen requirements of leeks (HDC FV350, 2009 to 2011)
- Preliminary determination of the greenhouse gases associated with growing media materials (Defra IF0154, 2007 to 2008) - report
- EU network to develop a model based decision support system to optimise nitrogen use in horticultural crop rotations across Europe (EU 2000 to 2005)
- Improved efficiency of water and fertilizer use in vegetable production (Defra HortLink)
- Making more efficient use of nitrogen in crop rotations of horticultural crops (Defra HH3506SFV, 2004 to 2008)
- A nitrogen mass balance (Biffaward / Defra, 2004)
- Implications on disposal of biodegradable municipal waste (Onyx Environmental Trust / Defra, 2006)
- EU network to investigate environmental problems associated with the nitrogen fertilization of field grown vegetables (EU)