A new five-year project to reduce losses in brassica production has won £4.4 million in funding from leading research institute BBSRC.
Named BBSRC Brassica, Rapeseed and Vegetable Optimisation (BRAVO), the project will be led by Lars Østergaard of the John Innes Centre (JIC), alongside leading plant health scientists.
It will aim to cut crop losses in brassicas by looking at key aspects of plant development, and developing new, more resilient varieties of brassica crops that can achieve superior field performance, while reducing yield loss and industry wastage.
BBSRC’s head of agriculture and food security, Adam Staines, said: "This group is building on past investments in basic plant science and translating this knowledge to key UK crops, working with the relevant industry to deliver real potential long term benefits for UK farmers."
The project will particularly look at plant resilience in the face of climate change, with targets including concise flowering, consistently high fertility under fluctuating environments, reduced yield loss and more uniform seed performance.
In addition, the project will support the training of young scientists and raise industry awareness of new developments through workshops in brassica genetics, genomics, phenotyping and modelling.
Østergaard said: “By unravelling and exploring the processes behind important genetic traits in crops, we will provide a basis for the development of improved brassica crops that reduce losses and withstand changes in climate and environmental conditions.”