Defra unveils £5.3m in crop research funding

A £5.3m package unveiled by Defra aims to improve the resilience, sustainability and quality of major crops for UK farmers.

Four leading agricultural research centres will help develop new technologies and environmentally friendly production for farmers and growers across the country.

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They will focus on boosting productivity for pulses, wheat, leafy vegetables and oilseed rape as part of Defra’s Crop Genetic Improvement Networks (GINs).

Defra 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 their creation in 2003, Defra’s GINs have helped increase crop resistance to pests and diseases such as orange blossom midge and turnip mosaic virus.

They have also helped researchers and scientists enhance pea crops, which are now being used to produce high-quality animal feed.

Crop production

The four recipients that will undertake the research are the John Innes Centre, Rothamsted Research, University of Warwick and University of York.

Ian Bancroft, who leads the agricultural research centre at the University of York, said: “Innovation through these networks is essential if we are to see growth in healthy crop production.”

The government has so far invested £160m through its agri-tech strategy to harness the latest agricultural research and technologies.

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