Project Background

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The INNO-VEG project is developing innovative methods for carrying out research into field vegetable and potato crops. 

The overall objective of the project is to increase the speed and uptake of innovation in the field vegetable and potato sectors by:

  1. Defining and implementing a new approach for delivering cost-effective research
  2. Establishing a cross border innovation network which will create the framework conditions for innovation to facilitate uptake of the new approach

ADAS leads the project in the UK; the partners are Inagro in Belgium, Delphy in the Netherlands and ARVALIS – Institut du vegetal in France.

The four-year project began in August 2018. In 2019, a programme of 48 field experiments have been set up in the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands to develop an overarching protocol for integrating crop sensing data into field research methodologies. The project will evaluate the suitability of using crop sensing data to assess treatment differences in field experiments.

Project lead and ADAS soil scientist Lizzie Sagoo says: “We know that crop sensing data, for example, from drones or tractor-mounted sensors, can show up differences in crop performance across a field. We want to see whether these techniques accurately assess final crop yields. If they do, they can be used instead of the labour-intensive and expensive standard field assessments.”

“If we can show that crop sensing data can be used to assess differences in crop treatments, we can upscale to split-field or tramline comparisons. Then, we can adopt a farmer-led approach to delivering research in this sector. The model will enable farmers to apply treatments to different areas of a field using their own farm equipment and carry out accurate measurements using high-resolution crop data.”

This project brings together an internationally respected group of researchers with extensive experience of field vegetable and potato production systems, crop sensing techniques, spatial data analysis and on-farm advice. “Our ultimate aim is to provide farmers with a methodology for carrying out research on their own farms, where they can test new approaches such as varieties, establishment techniques or fertiliser management.”

In addition to the field experiments, the project team is setting up a cross-border (the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands) network to facilitate innovation between the precision farming/sensor technology industry, research organisations and the field vegetable and potato crop sectors. The network is being developed by Delphy in the Netherlands and is due to launch later this year. Anyone with an interest in this area to join to network.

The new approach will reduce the cost of delivering research, enabling the current research funding to address a wider range of research priorities. It will also facilitate a change from predominately research organisation and commercial company-led research to one where farmer-led research forms an important component. This approach places the farmer at the centre of the research process which helps to up-skill the industry and drive improvements in crop production efficiency by testing and implementing new approaches or products on commercial farms.

Using a hand held sensor to measure crop reflectance from lettuce

Project Outputs

Information collected from farmer groups and field testing will be used to refine the framework to ensure the outputs are presented in formats that are easily understandable and written in sufficient detail to facilitate the adoption of the farmer-led approach.

The project outputs will include:

  1. Protocol for integrating high-resolution spatial crop data into research experiments
  2. Framework for farmer-led research

In 2020, field validation experiments will test the protocol developed during 2019 in the field-scale research experiments to develop a framework for farmer-led research. The framework will then be tested in farmer-led field experiments during 2021.

The protocol and framework project outputs represent a new approach for delivering research in the field vegetable and potato sectors.

For further information, please contact Lizzie Sagoo Use #INNOVEG on Twitter

Header image shows drone over cabbage field

Associated Agricology Partner Organisation(s):

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