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11-12 June 2024

Bygrave Woods

Newnham SG7 5JX

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25 Apr 2024

NIAB is putting plant science into practice at Cereals 2024

NIAB Stand: 618, 619, Soil Hole Sponsor
The NIAB stand and Soil Hole at the 2024 Cereals Event

With over 20 different crop species across 116 plots the NIAB stand (no 618), and its neighbouring Soil Hole exhibit (no 619) sets the standard for ‘plant science into practice’ at the 2024 Cereals Event on 11th and 12th June.

For all visitors to NIAB at Cereals the winter wheat variety demonstration plots are the main highlight. This year there are 32 varieties either already established on the AHDB Recommended List or candidates, with differences in disease susceptibility between the varieties clearly evident on the untreated plots. NIAB’s variety specialists are available to talk and advise on, not only winter wheat, but variety choice options in all cereals, oilseeds and break crops.

The agronomy plots will demonstrate a range of fungicide programmes in winter wheat and winter barley, the popular treated and untreated wheat variety blends and the return of the bi-cropping exhibit, this year focused on spring crops. There is also an exhibit assessing alternative nitrogen strategies in cereal crops.

NIAB CEO Professor Mario Caccamo says: “The Cereals Event is our annual opportunity to share the breadth and depth of our research work and expertise with growers and agronomists; demonstrating how they can and will be put into practice on farm and the economic and agronomic benefits in their use. From the variety advice that NIAB is renowned for to the latest disease, weed and pest management options, via crop nutrition, soil management and a look at alternative crops as well as part of our regenerative agriculture exhibit on the Soil Hole. But we also give visitors a snapshot of how we translate fundamental scientific discoveries into practical farming innovations which can boost productivity while addressing climate and biodiversity challenges.”

For example on the Soil Hole exhibit NIAB is showcasing the science behind regenerative agriculture, with research and information on long-term work on rotations, cultivations, tillage and soil management from NIAB specialists. This includes the NIAB-led, multi-partner Centre for High Carbon Capture Cropping (CHCx3) project which aims to help UK farmers and growers target Net Zero and build farming resilience through diversifying their arable and forage cropping. Visitors can take a look at a wide range of the UK’s underutilised and novel crops that may become more popular over the next few years on farm, and discuss crop management options with NIAB specialists and advisors. With six herbal grazing ley mixtures alongside flax, miscanthus, buckwheat, quinoa, durum wheat, and triticale growers have the option to view some of these crops above and below ground in the 20 metre long, 2 metre deep NIAB Soil Hole.

Visitors can explore NIAB’s pre-breeding research into the genetic control of yield, yield components, disease resistance and quality traits in cereal crops, with a particular focus on wheat. The plots show investigations into how yield improvement is constructed, identifying novel sources to ‘stack’ on top of the traits that wheat breeders have already assembled. As part of the BBSRC-funded ‘Designing Future Wheat’ project, NIAB has grown thousands of these diversity-enriched pre-breeding lines in the field, with commercial breeders making selections and using this material in their own programmes.

NIAB is also identifying novel leads for disease resistance. For those growers battling with Septoria this season the pathology plots demonstrate NIAB’s re-synthesised wheat lines that showed an excellent resistance against the disease in 2023 and could be used in commercial breeding programmes in the future.

In the legumes area, plots of peas and beans, lentils and lupins, chickpea and soya all help growers to uncover the benefits of protein crops by exploring the opportunities for crop diversification and lowering inputs on farm and new market prospects as a plant-derived protein source in food and animal feed. As part of the display NIAB’s research into improving UK food legumes is showcased, from work on sequencing peas and beans for nutritional quality and the presence of anti-nutritional compounds, to field trials testing how genotype /environment interactions influence crop quality. It also includes the development of genetic resources in faba beans, exploiting natural diversity to improve disease resistance against major diseases, including chocolate spot, downy mildew and Fusarium foot-rot.


The full list of exhibits planned for the NIAB stand in 2024 includes:

  • variety demonstration plots - providing expert advice on winter wheat variety choice for 2024/25 with 32 established and new candidate varieties;
  • advice on crop protection and nutrition including the latest information in new fungicide chemistry, new strategies and a comparison of wheat and barley fungicide programme options and a demonstration of wheat variety blends;
  • the use of bi-cropping options as an integrated crop management strategy, maximising production while minimising stress from climate induced and biotic stresses;
  • nitrogen strategies including how alternative fertilisers, bio-stimulants and biological products can help reduce the need for soil applied nitrogen fertilisers;
  • update on research into the life-cycle of cabbage stem flea beetle on oilseed rape and implications on management of the pest;
  • looking at the science as part of regenerative agriculture research and information on rotations, cultivations, tillage and soil management from NIAB specialists, including a look at alternative break crops to winter oilseed rape and a range of spring crops;
  • as part of the Centre for High Carbon Capture Cropping (CHCx3) platform a look at some of the UK’s under-utilised or novel crops that may feature on farm in the future in response to our need for a more resilient agricultural system, e.g. herbal grazing ley mixtures alongside buckwheat, quinoa, grain maize, durum wheat, and hybrid rye;
  • uncovering the benefits of protein crops, including lupins, peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas and soya;
  • the development of genetic resources in faba beans, exploiting natural diversity to improve disease resistance against major diseases, including chocolate spot, downy mildew and Fusarium foot-rot;
  • the research and development of Septoria resistance in wheat and the latest from the UKCPVS team on yellow and brown rust in UK crops;
  • showcasing research into the genetic control of yield, yield components, disease resistance and quality traits in cereal crops using new plant breeding tools and technologies to help shape the future of our crops;
  • NIAB Agronomy Membership services including the latest crop production advice and farmer-led research, field days, agronomy trials results, unique regional variety information and weekly agronomy updates through the season.
  • Meet the products and services offered by NIAB in our marquee including:
    • NIAB Analytical Services with tests and packages covering seed pathology, quality testing, seed testing and plant clinic for farmers and growers
    • Talk to our Future Farm Resilience Fund specialist providing free farm business consultations to help farmers navigate agricultural transition
    • BCPC’s range of impartial crop production focused publications, manuals, handbooks and online databases;
    • our extensive and successful independent field and glasshouse trialling services.
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