Improving Yield

Improving yield stability in UK blueberry productionInnovate UK funded consortium comprising The James Hutton Institute, James Hutton Limited, Castleton Fruit Ltd., Thomas Thomson Ltd., S&A Group Holdings Ltd., Delta T, Soil Essentials and M&S plc

Expansion of the UK blueberry crop is severely hampered by the problem of yield instability where crop yields vary excessively year-to-year. However, almost nothing is known regarding the underlying cause of the yield instability trait. This consortium brings together growers, agronomists and retailers to work with the APGC to identify the underlying causes of the yield instability and to find crop management and breeding solutions.

By combining environmental monitoring with analysis of crop development, carbon assimilation and portioning, APGC has identified photosynthetic limitation as a significant cause of yield instability. Management techniques to limit the problem have been developed and ongoing work aims to identify molecular markers that can be deployed in breeding superior varieties.

Contact: Rob Hancock

Imaging sensor solutions in the soft fruit industry for high throughput phenotyping and monitoring of abiotic and biotic stresses for premium variety production and maximised yields.

Innovate UK funded consortium comprising The James Hutton Institute, James Hutton Limited,, Total World Fresh, Delta T Devices, AHDB, Soil Essentials, Marks & Spencer and Thomas Thomson Ltd.

In a changing environment growers and farmers need early warning systems to alert them to adverse impacts on crops before those impacts are manifested affecting yield and quality.

The APGC has developed a field and glasshouse based phenotyping platform using both infrared thermography and hyperspectral imaging. Glasshouse and field experiments have been carried out with a range of individual and combined water stress regimes and pest and disease burdens. Automated image analysis techniques have been developed to analyse the images and pull out relevant spectral data for each plant.  Analysis has shown the platforms ability to distinguish varieties and stresses using spectral signals.

“It is not that long ago that this type of technology seemed very far removed from the commercial soft fruit grower, but it now appears possible to use it to hasten the delivery of new and improved raspberry and blueberry varieties to the field. Looking further ahead, this technology could be very useful on the farm to aid in the early detection of stresses and diseases” – Peter Thomson (Thomas Thomson, Blairgowrie Ltd).

Contact: Julie Graham

Improving potato tolerance to high temperature.

BBSRC as part of the ERA-CAPS project HotSol, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (project number 702121 (ACQUIRE), Scottish Government Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division as part of the Strategic Research Programme 2016-2021.

Potato tuberisation is highly susceptible to high temperature inhibition causing yield reduction at moderately elevated temperature. As the world’s third most significant food crop this represents a serious threat to food security. Furthermore, Scottish seed exports to southern Europe and North Africa are threatened due to potential yield losses as temperatures rise.

Significant work has been undertaken by APGC in controlled environments to understand the mechanisms behind yield reduction. Mechanisms of temperature induced inhibition of tuberisation have been elucidated providing targets for breeding novel high temperature resistant cultivars. Furthermore alleles associated with high temperature acclimation have been identified offering immediate opportunities to breeders.

Contact: Mark Taylor