Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC) based at Cawood, Selby, North Yorkshire, helps ensure continued technological developments for the crop production industry. It’s formation has created an independent centre of excellence for the agri-food sector supported by both the production and supply sectors.

Why is there a need

Agricultural practice is gradually evolving to reduce the use of synthetic crop protection compounds through the use of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies.  This shift is partially due to changes in legislation, including the introduction of the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD), partially through the increased environmental responsibility of land-owners but also due to increased customer desire for pesticide-free produce.  Globally the synthetic plant protection market is worth over $50 billion annually.  The bio-pesticide market is currently estimated to be worth $3billion, but is expected to increase in size to $4.5 billion by 2023 and is expected to continue to growing as it replaces a wider range of synthetic products as these are revoked due to environmental and other concerns.  However, there are many challenges associated with getting optimal/reproducible results from these products but dedicated bio-pesticide research facilities remain scarce.   This asset will improve the capability for conducting applied research on biopesticides to help develop robust control measures and aid their registration and ultimately increase farmer & grower confidence in their use.


What is the Asset

The asset will comprise a a purpose-designed & built glasshouse with a flexible array of compartments using moveable partition walls to suit different trial designs and allow flexible environmental manipulation and control to suit the needs of both pests & pathogens but also to suit the bio-control agents themselves.  The aim is to create a new bio-pesticide facility that will meet the R&D needs of this rapidly growing market.   It will comprise dedicated sprayers for both conventional pesticides and biopesticides and also include specialist hydroponic systems for pesticide & biopesticide application to the root zone of these crops.

How it can help the agricultural sector

The market for biopesticides is expanding considerably and this facility is likely to be of interest to those, including some of the multi-nationals, marketing novel products, as they are required to develop registration dossiers for regulatory purposes both in the UK and elsewhere. The ability to minimise variation in data on biopesticides will provide considerable advantage as previous work has been significantly hampered by such variation leading to delays in registration/approval. It is anticipated that UK farmers & growers, through the levy boards, will be also interested as this will be the primary route for industry involvement with biopesticides in the future.  A new 4 year project ‘SCEPTREPLUS’ commissioned by AHDB aims to screen alternative biopesticide products.  This facility with the additional capability for screening products in a range of different hydroponic systems will be particularly advantageous for some crop sectors.

If you want more information on this asset, or book a tour of our facilities or discuss a potential collaboration with us, please contact:

Dr Martin McPherson, Director of Innovation & Technology
Email :

Dr David George, Director of  Science
Email :

Dr Phil Davis, Head of Plant Physiology & Lighting
Email :

STC Office telephone no. is +44 (0) 1757 268275