Technology and Research Platforms

Field Trials at Church Farm

The John Innes Centre has a field trials and experimentation farm located on the outskirts of Norwich, in the village of Bawburgh. This is where crops that have been studied under laboratory and greenhouse conditions are taken into the field to trial how they perform in real life conditions.

Church Farm is home to the Dorothea de Winton field station where we bring together lab and field research in one location to improve facilities for research in understanding how genes control plant growth in the field.

In the field, the plants are subjected to fluctuating weather conditions, variable soil, water and nutrient availability and the risk of pests and diseases. Excluding weather, a degree of control can be maintained by irrigation, variable inputs of fertilisers, and pesticides as required. These trials allow researchers to measure how plants grow in a commercial farm environment.

About the Farm and Field Trials

Church Farm is 110 hectares, or approximately 210 football pitches, divided into 15 fields. It is home to the Dorothea De Winton field station, a state-of-the-art research facility.

Of the 110 hectares, about a fifth is used for experimental and variety trials each year. The remainder is farmed under rotation by Morley Farms. A further 5-6 hectares is used for wheat trials on Morley’s other farms.

We offer all stages of plant breeding from pre-breeding projects to specific disease nursery assessments and yield trials, as well as;

  • Small scale field trials
  • Non-Crop trials
  • Tailored agronomy
  • Crop assessments (including drone imaging)
  • Phenotyping
  • Data capture
  • Irrigated trials
  • Assessment of efficacy of products on crops for research or marketing purposes

Field trials and nurseries can be tailored to individual requirements regarding plot size, agronomic inputs, irrigation, phenotypic assessments and/or selections, yield analysis and sample retention, providing support for innovative phenotyping processes and new technologies in an agricultural environment.

As well as working with scientists on the Norwich Research Park, we are available to anyone involved in crop research either academically or commercially, including agchem manufacturers.

Prices are available on a quote basis.

To enquire, email Darryl Playford about your requirements and goals. At least six months’ notice is generally required to allow for planning of fields and crop rotations.

John Innes Centre Experimental Research at Church Farm

Working in Partnership

Morley Farms Ltd is a commercial farming enterprise which hosts independent unbiased field trials on their site near Wymondham, Norfolk, and are contracted to farm and manage the (non-experimental) land at Church Farm.

Church Farm is one of the trial sites for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and for the British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB). Find out more about how we work in partnership at Church Farm.