CROP RESEARCH aimed at the North-east of Scotland has received £100k in funding from the Mains of Loirston Trust.

The funding is to be split between four SRUC crop projects, one of which is a study that aims to help farmers protect their barley against Ramularia Leaf Spot.

The annual Winter Wheat Challenge for students at SRUC’s Aberdeen and Edinburgh campuses has been given a further two years’ worth of funding, while an Aberdeen-based study into using a rye/vetch cover crop to improve crop utilisation has also been awarded a grant.

The final project to be awarded funding will also take place in Aberdeen and will aid research to help farmers create Integrated Pest Management strategies.

Established by the late Alexander Williams Allan, the Aberdeen-based Trust awards grants 'to advance the science and practice of agriculture across Scotland'.

SRUC head of Crop and Soil systems, Professor Fiona Burnett, said: “We are delighted to receive this generous funding for such specific projects that benefit the North-east of Scotland. Because it is such a diverse geographical area and has specific needs, I don’t think that funding from a general UK or European trust would be as easily accessible for projects like these.

“We have been able to do studies, such as the Winter Wheat Challenge, where students are able to get practical experience, and most of the time that would be too impractical or expensive for funding. The Mains of Loirston Trust has ties to the North-east and it really is a perfect niche for researchers trying to develop that region,” Professor Burnett concluded.

Speaking on behalf of the Mains of Loirston trustees, Alastair Robertson said: “We are delighted to support the research projects of SRUC which we believe will provide farmers in the North-east of Scotland with good guidance as to how to address the challenges of the future.”

Funding breakdown –

• Rye /vetch study to improve crop utilisation (Dr John Baddeley) – £19,637;

• Winter Wheat Challenge (Alex Hilton and Scott Murray) – £23,574;

• Fungicides and Integrated Pest Management (Dr Henry Creissen) – £37,833;

• Ramularia Leaf Spot (Dr Neil Havis) – £18,684.