The Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) is calling on farmers to take the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to displace imported soya and grow bean crops.
The Nitrogen Efficient Plants for Climate Smart Arable Cropping Systems (NCS) project will host launch events for farmers this week – at the Cereals event and online – with the goal of instigating a reduction of 1.5Mt CO₂e per annum.
Led by the PGRO alongside a consortium of UK companies, research institutes and farmer networks, the NCS is running a four-year £5.9 million research project to increase pulse cropping in arable rotations to 20%, as well as develop and test new feed rations.
“Everyone knows that pulses and legumes have considerable benefits for UK farming systems,” says PGRO chief executive, Roger Vickers, who leads the NCS consortium.
“But these have never been truly and accurately measured. So their value has been sorely underplayed and their potential to address the climate crisis has gone unrecognised.
“Together we can change that. We now have the science, the tools and the know-how among UK farmers, not only to tap into that potential but to develop it further. Bringing that talent together is what lies at the heart of NCS – it’s never been done before, and there’s never been a project on this scale with this much ambition.”
The first stage of the project will give 200 farmers direct support to establish a carbon baseline, using the Farm Carbon Toolkit. The GHG emissions of each farm will then be tracked throughout the project.
Among them, a series of leading innovators will be paid to work with scientists to co-design crop and feeding trials to carry out on their farms.
Further to this, the project is also launching the PulsePEP (Performance Enhancing Platform), led by ADAS, which will be a hub for the farmer-led community to share experiences and best practise.
“This will be the defining project of our time,” said Mr Vickers. “It’s not just the chance for UK Agriculture to make a seismic shift towards Net Zero, but it’ll also deliver a prosperous and resilient way of farming for communities worldwide.
“We want farmers to join us and be part of this exciting journey of discovery. You will shape it. Your knowledge and experience will enrich the science we’re bringing together. You will inspire others and accelerate the pace of change. And together we’ll achieve a farming future that is richly rewarding and immensely gratifying.”
For more information go to www.ncsproject.co.uk