The John Innes Centre is set to receive a £1.3 million boost to support its pioneering research in improving the resilience and sustainability of UK pulse crops, Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced today.
This is part of a £5.3 million funding package being shared between four of the UK’s leading agricultural research centres to help develop new technologies and environmentally friendly production for farmers and growers across the country.
Research teams at the John Innes Centre will use their share of this fund to develop new scientific insights to boost the productivity, quality and value of the UK’s pulse and wheat crops as part of Defra’s Crop Genetic Improvement Networks (GINs). Other crops such as oilseed rape and certain vegetable species will also benefit.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Developing new technology is crucial to making sure our farmers can continue to grow world-class produce in an environmentally friendly way.
“Through this new fund, I hope to see the creation of new and innovative growing practices and crop protections so we can truly unlock the potential of our food and farming industries.”
Since being created in 2009, the John Innes Centre’s pulse crop research programmes have:
- Improved crop resistance to pests and diseases, such as downy mildew
- Enhanced pea crops to generate high-quality animal feed
Professor Claire Domoney, who leads on pulse crop research at the John Innes Centre, said: “I am delighted that Defra has made this long-term funding commitment to the Pulse Crop GIN.
“This funding will see the results of fundamental science developed into practical outcomes, ensuring farmers and growers are equipped with the tools they need to produce the most resilient pulse crops.”
Within the current Pulse Crop GIN, the John Innes Centre will work with NIAB, the University of Reading, Aberystwyth University and the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) to deliver genetic improvements to UK pulse crops.
The John Innes Centre will also work with Rothamsted Research on the Wheat GIN.
The government has so far invested £160 million through the Agri-Tech strategy to harness the latest agricultural research and technologies.