Increasing the speed and uptake of innovation in the field vegetable and potato sectors : defining a new approach for delivering cost effective research.
Priority AxisTechnological and Social Innovation
Framework Conditions for Innovation
Lead partnerRSK ADAS Ltd.
Project budget2 562 382 €
ERDF amount1 537 429 €
Field vegetable and potato production are important agricultural sectors in the 2 Seas region. This project addresses the challenge of sustainable intensification of field vegetable and potato production (i.e. increasing crop production and profitability whilst minimizing environmental impact). R&D is key to the promotion of sustainable intensification, however, funding in these sectors has not been sufficient to address the broad range of research priorities which has limited the speed and uptake of innovation. The 2 Seas area is experiencing an ‘implementation gap’, where the wide range of
potential benefits of new technologies is not being realized by farmers. This project addresses these challenges by (i) defining a new approach for delivering cost effective research which enables farmers to test new products/approaches on their own farms and (ii) establishing an Innovation network which will create the framework conditions for innovation to facilitate uptake of the new approach.
The overall objective of the project is to increase the speed and uptake of innovation in the field vegetable and potato sectors by (i) defining and implementing a new approach for delivering cost effective research and (ii) establishing a cross-border innovation network which will create the framework conditions for innovation to facilitate uptake of the new approach (http://proj4.adas.co.uk/fig2.jpg). The new approach will reduce the cost of delivering research, enabling the current research funding to address a wider range of research priorities. It will also facilitate a change from predominately research organization and commercial company led research to one where farmer led research forms an important component. This approach places the farmer at the centre of the research process which helps to up-skill the industry and drive improvements in crop production efficiency by testing and implementing new approaches or products on commercial farms.
- Protocol for integrating high resolution spatial crop data into research experiments
- Framework for farmer led research
- The Protocol and Framework project outputs represent a new approach for delivering research in the field vegetable and potato sectors.
- Cross border innovation network of stakeholders in 2 Seas region
- Five year implementation plan for the adoption the new approach for delivering research and to support continuation of the innovation network
The target beneficiaries are:
- Local, regional and national authorities with responsibility for commissioning agricultural research.
- Other non-governmental organizations with responsibility for research (i.e. AHDB in UK).
- Commercial companies commissioning research.
- Precision farming and sensor technology industry.
- Universities and research centres delivering research.
- Commercial companies delivering research.
- Farmer networks.
- Farming businesses.
Cross border approach
A cross border approach is needed because:
- The over-arching challenge of sustainable intensification of crop production is a cross-border challenge and a key priority in each of the 2 Seas countries.
- Crop types, growing conditions and crop production systems are similar across the 2 Seas region.
- The challenges and research priorities for individual crops are similar across the 2 Seas region.
- Many companies responsible for developing new products or solutions for use in crop production systems operate internationally and a cross border approach reduces the risk of fragmentation of research within specific regions.
The main advantages of the cross border approach are:
- Combined expertise of the project partners; each region and partner contributes specific areas of expertise in crop production, remote sensing and/or spatial data analysis.
- Scalability – enabling growers to benefit from research and expertise from the wider 2 Seas region.
The INNO-VEG project aims to increase the speed and uptake of innovation in the field vegetable and potato sectors by i) defining and implementing a new approach for delivering cost-effective research, ii) establishing a cross border innovation network which will create the framework conditions for innovation to facilitate uptake of the new approach.
The project will evaluate the suitability of using crop sensing data to assess treatment differences in field experiments. In 2019 a programme of 46 small plot field experiments was carried out to develop an overarching ‘Protocol’ for integrating crop sensing data into field research methodologies. The Protocol will be available to download from the ‘Resources’ section of the project website by the end of Feb 2021 (https://inno-veg.org/en/Resource).
In 2020, field validation experiments were set up to test the ‘Protocol’ in larger field-scale experiments and to develop this into a ‘Framework for farmer-led research’. Fourteen field scale experiments, covering a range of topics, were carried out in the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. These experiments covered a number of horticultural crops (including potatoes, carrots, onions, leeks, spinach and vining peas) and research priority areas (e.g. soil management, crop nutrition and protection).
In addition to the field experimental work, the project has also set up a cross border innovation network to facilitate innovation between the precision farming/sensor technology industry, research organisations and the field vegetable and potato crop sectors. The INNO-VEG innovation network was launched in October 2019 at a meeting on smart farming at the Rusthoeve Research Centre in Colijnsplaat, Netherlands. Online networking events were hosted by ADAS and Delphy in 2020; the events attracted an international audience. A recording of the events is available in the videos section of the project website.
The innovation network is supported by a web-based registration system and innovation ‘hub’ (www.inno-veg.org). Individuals can register with the network via the website. Members can then add their profile to the members directory and add information on relevant services or projects. The innovation hub provides a forum for members to engage with each other, post updates and ask questions. The forums include translation between English, French and Dutch to help discussion between members from different countries.