Puffin Produce is taking part in a nine-month research project to develop specialist nutrition programmes and emerging solutions to secure a sustainable increase in vegetable yields, quality, and vegetable cropping area, within Wales.
The project, called POSTCOVA, is funded by Innovate UK and run by Emerald Research, who are specialists in soil and crop science, along with several partners including Puffin Produce and Bangor University. The project at Puffin will focus predominantly on tailoring nutrient and bio stimulants to specific crops, based on data collected from a specific field.
Stephen Mathias, Head Agronomist at Puffin Produce said, “Currently within the UK and worldwide agriculture, nutrients are generally applied based on soil samples taken from the field before planting, with recommendations from standard guidelines. However, every field and crop are different and unique; each crop has a specific need which varies depending on the weather conditions, what the previous crop was and how it is managed during the season. Therefore, blanket treating the field before the crop is even planted or based on a ‘standard field,’ is not always the best approach.
“The POSTCOVA approach by tailoring the nutrient to the specific crop based on the data collected in field can help to reduce inputs which are not required. This will increase crop productivity and yield, as well as increase nutrient availability to the plant at the correct time. We will also use new precision tools to improve application timings, methods, and amounts. Moreover, it will reduce the risk of run off and leaching and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from excess fertiliser applications, as well as improve soil quality.”
Photo Caption: The POSTCOVA project looks to adjust nutrients to specific crops based on in field data.