New Zealand collaboration heralds brave new world for UK arable research

AHDB has struck a new partnership with its equivalent levy body for arable in New Zealand to share knowledge and resources to benefit arable growers on both sides of the globe.

Alison Stewart, chief executive of the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), visited AHDB at its Warwickshire headquarters in Stoneleigh Park to find out about its work and to agree to collaborate.

A packed agenda gave Prof. Stewart an overview of AHDB’s research and knowledge exchange programmes, with a particular focus on benchmarking, soil health, integrated pest management (IPM), skills and the environment.

FAR funds a wide range of research for its arable and maize levy-payers to tackle issues themed around reducing cost, improving yield, adding value, resilience, environmental responsibility and innovation. The new partnership will allow FAR and AHDB to develop a mutually-beneficial international portfolio of activities and initiatives.

In the first year, a programme of research co-funded by the two organisations will look at:

  • Knowledge exchange;
  • Soil quality benchmarking;
  • IPM; and
  • farm productivity benchmarking.

The work will be overseen by a management steering group, which will agree all projects and allocate budget.

Rebecca Geraghty, chief technical officer at AHDB, said: “I’m delighted we have entered into this agreement with our colleagues from New Zealand, which marks the start of a coordinated programme of research and knowledge exchange to tackle issues common to our growers in the UK and their counterparts on the other side of the world.

“There is a huge amount of enthusiasm and momentum behind this collaboration and we look forward to reaping the benefits of working closely with the FAR team in the years to come to provide growers with innovative solutions to a range of mutual challenges.”

Prof. Stewart said the collaboration agreement formalises the two organisations’ existing relationship and will add value to growers in both hemispheres.

It is clear that UK and New Zealand growers face similar technical and financial challenges, so it makes sense for us to combine our efforts and work together on mutually beneficial issues.

“A series of valuable discussions have identified areas of potential collaboration and we look forward to working on several key projects over the next three to five years,” she added.