Industry investment bolsters nitrogen and sulphur research in oats and wheat

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Two new AHDB research projects on nitrogen (N) and sulphur (S) management in oats and wheat have been bolstered by a half a million pound co-investment from industry.

The latest research is in addition to a complementary AHDB project on barley, which started in 2017. The funding injection means over £2 million is now being invested in N and S management research in cereal production, with 80 per cent of the funding coming from non-levy sources.

Major gaps in nutrient management for yield and quality in modern, high-yielding cereal varieties will be addressed by the work. The results will inform revisions of the AHDB Nutrient Management Guide (RB209).

Sajjad Awan, who manages nutrient management research at AHDB, said: “We’re delighted so many organisations, including fertiliser companies, academic institutions and processor organisations, have offered to support our nutrient management investment. The commitment is mainly in kind but includes access to a large amount of trial data, which will be analysed in the new work.”

The latest round of investment will address significant data gaps identified during the production of the latest version of RB209, which was released in 2017.

The new project on oats, led by ADAS, looks at some of the uncertainty associated with N rates and timings, including the effect on quality.

Sajjad said: “UK oat production has increased substantially over the last 20 years, fuelled by an increased demand for oats for human consumption. At present, nutrient recommendations do not take account of oat milling quality. Our research will address this.”

Milling wheat is the focus of the second new project. Led by NIAB, the research, which also aims to improve N recommendations, includes trials on the foliar application of N at the milky-ripe stage.

With S deposition from the atmosphere decreasing in recent years, both projects will aim to optimise its application. In addition to yield, quality aspects will be investigated. The work includes the management of S to reduce the production of asparagine in wheat. Elevated levels of asparagine, which is linked to production of the processing contaminant ‘acrylamide’, are known to be associated with S-deficient wheat crops.

The work complements research commissioned by AHDB last year to update N and S fertiliser recommendations for spring barley, which is also being led by ADAS.



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