Morley and NIAB in merger talks

18 June 2001

Morley and NIAB in merger talks

By Tom Allen-Stevens

MORLEY Research Centre and NIAB are engaged in talks that may lead to a merger of the two organisations, FWi can reveal.

A decision on the merger could be expected by the year-end, commented NIABs chief executive Brian Legg, with a view to completing it by spring 2002.

“Were probably two of the most trusted names in UK agronomy. Both organisations are very excited at the prospect of a merger,” he said.

It is hoped that Morleys applied management approach to crop agronomy will marry well with NIABs detailed work on varieties.

Prof Legg told FWi on Monday (18 June) that a merged organisation, if it goes ahead, may open Morley-type centres across the country.

“Its a model thats proved very successful, providing detailed knowledge of crop management to growers in East Anglia.”

There are no job losses anticipated – indeed Prof Legg is hoping the new organisation may offer new job opportunities.

Jim Orson, chief executive of Morley believes that a merger would improve the service it currently provides by widening the pool of information available.

“We are forward-thinking organisations determined to create a structure which will provide support for arable farmers in the future,” he said.

Farmer-funded work would continue to be farmer-controlled, he assured, and agreement by Morley members will be sought in the coming months.

Morley is the leading farmer-owned research organisation in East Anglia providing technical support to around 1600 farmers, crop consultants and others.

NIAB has established strengths in variety evaluation, plant variety rights, seed certification and seed technology.

With 240 staff and a headquarters in Cambridge, it is best known for its work carrying out research for the recommended list of UK varieties.


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