Our crop physiology team focuses on improving performance and reducing pollution of cropping systems for food, feed and biofuel production. We are experts in crop physiology, plant genetics and crop management.

We have the largest group of crop physiologists in the UK. Our goal is to understand:

  • The physiological processes by which crops capture resources (light, CO2, water, nutrients)
  • How crops use these resources to produce saleable products (crop yield & quality).
  • How environmental factors (climate, weather and soil) and crop management factors (genotype, sow date, seed rate, nutrition, agro-chemicals etc.) affect physiological processes.
  • How crop management affects the environment (e.g. risk of nitrate leaching, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions).

We distil the scientific evidence we collect into sound practical guidelines for growers.

Download ‘ADAS Crop Physiology – Who we are and what we do’ leaflet

Our expertise

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Improving nutrient (macro and micro) use efficiency
  • Innovation in fertiliser use efficiency (e.g. urease and nitrification inhibitors; slow-release products etc.)
  • Improving the use of organic material nutrients (e.g. livestock manures, biosolids, compost, digestate, paper crumble etc.), including the development of innovative treatment practices
  • Integrated use of organic materials and manufactured fertilisers
  • Controlled release fertilisers, liquid feeding and foliar feeding; soil and substrate media
  • Advising growers on legislative requirements to minimise nutrient losses to the environment and crop contamination
  • On-farm advice including nutrient management plans, manure management plans, crop quality and regulatory compliance
  • Diagnosing crop nutrient-related disorders

Crop experiments

We offer a range of experiments designs, treatments and measurements. Our applied research is scientifically rigorous, hypothesis-driven, and challenge-led. Our experiments and analysis are regularly published in international peer-reviewed journals.

Our split field and tramline trial services are tailored to the research question and level of client involvement required.

We can offer:

  • Analysis and reporting of raw yield map data from earlier client-run split-field or tramline trials, to determine statistical confidence in treatment differences.
  • Support of client-led trials

We can also find sites, design trials, oversee and visit trials, data sourcing, data analysis and reporting. If needed, we can replicate tramline trials or high precision tramline trials. These can allow us to detect significant differences of <0.1 t/ha.

Crop research examples

One of our advances is Agronomics. This new technology enables farmers to compare agronomic treatments at tramline, split-field and whole field scales.

With the help of other ADAS teams, we can carry out inter-disciplinary research. Working alongside ADAS pathologists and entomologists, our previous projects have looked at disease tolerance and reliable pest thresholds.

We have carried out crop phenotyping for plant breeders and variety testers. Examples include reducing nitrogen requirements and improving lodging resistance.

One of our previous experiments included investigating effective rooting depth. Read the experiment summary.

We can produce husbandry guidelines for all crops, including minor crops e.g. Triticale, optimising fertilisers and targeting plant growth regulars (PGRs). Our algorithms support precision farming and the prescription of variable rates.

Related services