NZ and UK combine efforts on arable research

Farmers in the UK and New Zealand face similar technical and financial challenges
Farmers in the UK and New Zealand face similar technical and financial challenges

The UK and New Zealand are to team up in a new partnership to share knowledge and research to benefit arable farmers in both countries.

The UK's levy-board, AHDB, will partner with its equivalent body for arable in New Zealand, the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR).

The organisation funds a wide range of research for its arable and maize levy-payers to tackle issues themed around reducing cost, improving yield, adding value, resilience, environmental responsibility and innovation.

The new partnership will allow FAR and AHDB to develop a mutually-beneficial international portfolio of activities and initiatives.

In the first year, a programme of research co-funded by the two organisations will look at knowledge exchange, soil quality benchmarking, IPM and farm productivity benchmarking.

The work will be overseen by a management steering group, which will agree all projects and allocate budget.

Rebecca Geraghty, Chief Technical Officer at AHDB, said: “It marks the start of a coordinated programme of research and knowledge exchange to tackle issues common to our growers in the UK and their counterparts on the other side of the world.

“There is a huge amount of enthusiasm behind this collaboration and we look forward to reaping the benefits of working with the FAR team to provide growers with innovative solutions to a range of mutual challenges.”

UK and NZ 'face similar challenges'

Professor Alison Stewart, CEO of FAR, visited AHDB at its Warwickshire headquarters in Stoneleigh Park to find out about its work and to agree the collaboration.

The visit had a particular focus on benchmarking, soil health, integrated pest management (IPM), skills and the environment.

Prof Stewart said the collaboration agreement formalises the two organisations’ existing relationship and will add value to growers in both hemispheres.

“It is clear that UK and New Zealand growers face similar technical and financial challenges, so it makes sense for us to combine our efforts and work together on mutually beneficial issues

“A series of valuable discussions has identified areas of potential collaboration and we look forward to working on several key projects over the next three to five years,” she added.