Growers sought to aid field-edge research

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Rothamsted scientists are assessing whether flower-rich margins, hedgerows or tree lines are helping improve yield and asking growers to help by sending them GPS data collected at harvest.

 

In return for their help, the Institute will provide them with an easy to interpret summary of the findings, with tips on how they might increase production.

 

The data will be integral to a study linking the biodiversity found just beyond the field with variations in yield within it.

 

Dr Helen Metcalfe, who is collating the data, said different types of field boundaries could help to reduce the yield decline at field edges.

“Have you ever wondered what the true benefit of hedgerows, treelines or flower rich margins are on your crop yield? By linking the yield monitor data collected by GPS enabled combine harvesters with the presence of different landscape features, we will try to determine whether yield decline towards the edge of fields is associated with certain types of boundaries.

“Likewise, we will also identify whether features known to support pollinators and other beneficial wildlife are having a positive effect on yield in the nearest parts of the crop.”

 

The EcoStack project is hoping that information on the location, quality and quantity of landscape features such as hedgerows or wildflowers linked to yield maps will give the clearest indication yet on the benefit of on-farm biodiversity.

 

Data from potato growers from any part of the UK will be useful, she added, stressing that no data will be shared beyond this project.

More information on how to take part, including simple instructions on how to download combine data, can be obtained from www.ecostack-h2020.eu/2020/04/01/yeld-monitor/  or by emailing helen.metcalfe@rothamsted.ac.uk