Emerald Research Ltd (ERL), a leading voice in the campaign for a holistic and sustainable approach to crop production, has been awarded another Innovate UK funded research programme following on from the recent Postcova project.  In collaboration with a consortium of key industry, academic and farming partners, including Dyson Farming, Bangor University, The James Hutton Institute and Light Science technologies, the three-year programme is titled Transformative Reduced Inputs in Potatoes or TRIP for short.

The TRIP programme is dedicated to exploring innovative regenerative approaches aimed at revitalising farm soil organic matter. Additionally, it focuses on finding solutions to tackle the environmental challenge posed by greenhouse gas emissions in the UK’s potato farming industry, with a particular emphasis on reducing the notable levels of CO2 and N2O emissions.

Large scale commercial potato crops require intensive soil cultivation to prepare the seedbed and typically require levels of inputs (fertilisers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) in order to produce crops that meet commercial quality and tonnage requirements.

Conventional potato production’s current carbon footprint comprises: fertilisers (55%, including N2O emissions from soil application of nitrogen fertiliser), storage energy (29%), seed (9%) and transport (5%).

Simon Fox, MD of ERL, said: “We believe that this project has the ability to fundamentally change the soil tillage and input regimes used to produce potatoes in the UK.” He elaborated further: “We are excited about the very real potential not only to reduce the carbon footprint of UK potato production, but to do so in ways that are practical and economically rewarding for the farmer.”

Throughout the three-year programme, led by Dyson Farming, there will be regular updates from the consortium partners through the official TRIP communication channels and from farm-scale and replicated trials taking place through the farming partners SDF Agriculture, F G Pryor and Son Ltd., Colwith Farm Potatoes Ltd. and CP Richards & Son Ltd.