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CambPlants Hub

A networking organisation for plants-related research and impact

CambPlants joined the University's Bioscience Impact Team along with PhD students and Postdocs from the Departments of Plant Sciences and Land Economy, the Sainsbury Laboratory and NIAB for a visit at Cereals 2018 in Duxford on 13 June.

Cereals is a technical event for the arable industry, where farmers, agronomists and industry professionals can meet and see the new developments in the field. It is also a great opportunity for researchers to meet farmers and agri-tech industry representatives to find out about possible collaboration opportunities, and to speak with other scientists with similar research interests.

One the researchers from the Department of Plant Sciences to join the event was Luke Browning, who encourages other researchers to attend the event when they have the chance. "Cereals 2018 brought me out of my laboratory bubble. I learnt about current and future agronomic challenges, and about emerging crops on the UK market. It was interesting to hear how robots, machine learning and big data will shape the future of precision farming. I would recommend Cereals to researchers who are looking to make connections to implement their work in the field", Luke reported of his Cereals experience.

I would recommend Cereals to researchers who are looking to make connections to implement their work in the field.

Another researcher said that they found talking to the breeders about new wheat and barley varieties very useful. They also learnt about the techniques used to create hybrids and also about the application of RNAi in agriculture, and would definitely recommend Cereals to any researcher with an interest in cereal crops.

We got an excellent tour around the NIAB exhibit space and heard about their work, including Phill Howell talking about the research on wheat. We also got to see their soil pit, which gave an insight on what is going on underground with soils and roots.

Phill Howell from NIAB

Among the many exhibits we visited, the Agri-Tech East marquee was definitely one of the busiest, as they had invited some of their members to participate in the Innovation Insights session where we heard 2-minute pitch talks from the members. The talks gave an excellent overview of what is going on in the agri-tech sector, including a pitch by Vasiliki Tzortzi from the University of Cambridge Department of Land Economy who presented their farm benchmarking tool. You can find out more about the session and the speakers on the Agri-Tech East website here and here

Vasiliki Tzortzi, Department of Land Economy

There is a lot to see and hear at Cereals, and among the various talks and discussions on offer, we listened to the Cereals Controversial discussion "What are the crops of the future", the AHDB monitor farm debate, and Jackie Stroud from Rothamsted talking at the Bayer Crops UK Speakers Corner about how to count earthworms. We also visited the Corteva marquee to continue our discussions after they participated in the Food Futures 2 event co-organised by CambPlants, and spoke with Luke Ramsay from James Hutton Institute about the Impromalt project on barley improvements they lead.