A £3.5m crop technology centre in East Yorkshire is the latest development in Agrii’s £20m planned investment in its research programme, aimed at bridging the gap between science and commercial crop production.

Bishop Burton College has started construction of a technology and skills centre, which will be home to Agrii’s Northern Technology Centre in a major extension of the research and development partnership between the two organisations.

Back at Cereals 2012 , Agrii announced a multi-million pound expansion in research and development, including the establishment of new regional centres across northern England and Scotland.

The building will house all-new agricultural engineering, construction, mechanisation and technology facilities for the college, providing students with access to the latest technology in precision farming – including global positioning systems and refrigeration engineering.

Headed-up by newly-appointed northern R&D manager, Jim Carswell, the unit will include dedicated laboratory facilities linked to the company’s expanded cropping trials programme on the college farm.

Announcing this important development, college principal, Jeanette Dawson says: “Beyond hosting such a high profile and exciting new centre, we will gain tremendously from our students’ exposure to and involvement with the very latest in agronomic science and technology development.

“This will reinforce their understanding of the way the practical skills they’re learning fit into the much bigger picture of ensuring food production meets the major challenges of the future. In turn, it will help prepare them for an active role in helping drive forward the improvements in crop yield, quality and profitability that are vital to doing so.”

Mr Carswell adds that work they will be increasingly carrying out at the college and across sites from Inverness to Lincoln is focused firmly on bringing the gap between science and commercial crop production practice.

“This season we have more than 1,400 plots of winter wheat, 1,200 plots of winter oilseed rape and 350 plots of winter barley in the ground at Bishop Burton. As well as assessing new varieties, new chemistry and new nutritional ideas, we’re exploring the value and management of a range of exciting crop traits and agronomic techniques.”

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