Changing the future of food and farming

Research projects

Farm-based organic variety trials network

Farm-based organic variety trials network

Acronym : LiveWheat

Code : CH0113

Contract Period : 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2021

Project Webpage : http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=20324&FromSearch=Y&Status=2&Publisher=1&SearchText=CH0113&SortString=ProjectCode&SortOrder=Asc&Paging=10#Description

Main Funder : Defra

ORC Staff Contact : Ambrogio Costanzo

Livewheat will establish a network of farmers and researchers, with broad stakeholders’ support, able to undertake on-farm experimentation and data collection to enable informed decision making for sustainable organic and low-input wheat production

Project Aims:

Building on the outcomes of the H2020 funded Liveseed project, the objectives of this project will be to:

  1. Establish a network of farmers and researchers, with broad stakeholders’ support, able to undertake on-farm experimentation and data collection to enable informed decision making for sustainable organic and low-input wheat production.
  2. Collect key data and information about crop growth and development on-farm, including its interaction with the weed community, and on crop production and product quality which is relevant to farmers and stakeholders along the supply chain, e.g. millers and bakers and animal feed market.
  3. Provide a detailed and robust statistical analysis of the data collected, integrating experimental data with external data sources, including research data and agro-environmental variables, to enable data-based decisional models developed to assist with farm business decisions.
  4. Ensure visibility of the projects, its methodology and its results, towards organic and non-organic farmers, stakeholders, scientific community, policy makers and the wider public.

ORC's Role:

This project will involve 10 to 15 organic farms and generate datasets describing winter wheat varieties in terms of field performance during the growing season, with special emphasis on weed abundance and community composition, diseases symptoms and key yield components, productive performance and quality performance.

In cooperation with the AHDB, these datasets will be analysed and compared with relevant external data sources, including climatic and environmental data, to scope out how to enhance the decision support basis available to organic and conventional farmers. This will also inform breeding of future varieties adapted to both organic and conventional systems where low fertility and high weed burdens are important factors. Beyond providing information for a better winter wheat varietal choice, the project will improve and standardise experimental designs and protocols for on-farm participatory trials. This will enhance know-how of on-farm, field-scale trials management and, ultimately, allow on-farm data to complement plot-scale research and environmental information towards an integrated evidence base for better informed decisions at the farm and supply chain level, as well as for plant breeding.

Project leader and partners:

ORC (Coordinator)
Organic Arable (subcontractor)
AHDB (in-kind contribution)

Previous Relevant Work:

Liveseed

All sources of funding:

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs