An innovative research project to support an industry that feeds millions
ADAS, an RSK company, is leading the UK segment of the EU-funded, four-year INNO-VEG project that began in 2018. The project is developing innovative methods for studying field vegetable and potato crops. Partners from France, Belgium and the Netherlands have joined ADAS to bring the sensor technology industry and research organisations together with the vegetable and potato farming sectors to facilitate innovation. INNO-VEG aims to support the development of reliable research and thus to develop methods that will support the sustainable intensification of vegetable and potato farming.
In 2019, ADAS and its EU partners set up a programme of 48 field experiments to develop a key protocol for integrating crop-sensing data into field research. The project evaluated the suitability of crop-sensing data for use in field experiments to assess treatment differences. One of ADAS’s objectives was to increase the speed and uptake of innovation in the field vegetable and potato sectors by defining and implementing a new cost-effective approach. The company has helped to establish an innovation network across Belgium, the Netherlands and France that aims to assess the value of crop-sensing technology in research.
The new approach will reduce the cost of delivering research, thereby enabling the current investigation programme to address a wider range of priorities. It will facilitate a change from a predominately research-organisation- and business-led approach to a farmer-centric effort. This vital transformation will help to upskill the industry and will drive efficiency improvements in crop production by testing and implementing new approaches or products on commercial farms.
The project outputs have included a protocol for integrating high-resolution spatial crop imagery data into experiments and a framework for farmer-led research. Information collected from farmer groups and through field testing was used to inform the framework to ensure that the outputs were presented in an easily understandable format and that they contained sufficient detail to enable the adoption of the farmer-led approach.
In 2020, field-validation experiments tested this protocol. The framework will be tested in farmer-led experiments during 2021. These project outputs represent a new approach for delivering analyses in the field vegetable and potato sectors. “Our ultimate aim,” outlines Project Lead and ADAS Soil Scientist Lizzie Sagoo, “is to provide farmers with a methodology for carrying out research on their farms where they can test new approaches such as varieties, establishment techniques or fertiliser management.”