Velcourt’s technical director provides significant link in initiative project

Velcourt’s Technical Director Keith Norman will be acting as a link between Velcourt and the University of Warwick in a new project: looking at OSR yield decline from soil health point of view

Using established field sites across the UK the initiative will look at OSR yield decline from a soil health point of view. Rhizosphere samples will be collected from 32 cropping locations and differentiated into the core and satellite species.

There will be a focus on understanding those factors which determine distribution and assembly of specific rhizosphere taxa which earlier work has suggested contribute to OSR yield decline. Relationships between microbiome composition and yield will also be determined.  Field experiments will be used to investigate changes and functioning during the transition from a healthy to a diseased state associated with yield decline.

The project will also investigate the potential to manipulate the assembly of the rhizosphere microbiome through crop genotype and soil management.  Four OSR genotypes which have shown to have contrasting root metabolomes will be grown in rotational field experiments. Unique field resources at Rothamsted will be used to determine scope for using soil management to influence recruitment of taxa into the root microbiome, including pathogens associated with yield decline.

“This is new approach of using state of the art sequencing and genomics will enable us to try and understand the role of the soil biota play in the growing of Oilseed rape. We are hoping to get some key indicators from the project as to how to improve soil health and optimise the soils biological component for OSR production.”

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