26th June 2018

Official Opening of CHAP Soil Health Unit by Chairman of PepsiCo

CHAP Chairman, John Chinn and CEO, Fraser Black attended the official opening of our Soil Health facility and the Plant Phenotyping unit, owned by our sister Centre, Agri-Epi at Cranfield University. The guest of honour was Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive of PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies. Mrs Nooyi is the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, Pepsico’s commitment to delivering sustained growth with a focus on making healthier products, protecting our planet and empowering people. The soil health unit is unique in allowing precision control and monitoring of soil, water, crop and climate  conditions under a range of tillage operations. Mrs Nooyi was welcomed and given a tour of the facilities by Professor Leon Terry, Director of Environment and agri-food at Cranfield University.

25th June 2018

Diseased, sprouting, rotten or any other quality issue with your crops?

CHAP has the solution. Our crop stores at Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire provides experimental facilities to establish the optimum storage conditions for your crops post-harvest to ensure the best possible quality.

CHAP has ten state of the art stores hosted by AHDB Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research available for a range of crops including potatoes, onions and beetroot. They are temperature and relative humidity controlled and monitor carbon dioxide and oxygen levels to ensure that the crops can be stored for months on end maintaining top quality throughout. There are also ancillary services on site to detect and quantify disease levels so that preventative action can be taken to minimise disease development. The Unit also carries out chemical testing for efficacy of disease and sprout control.

If you would like more information contact Adrian.cunnington@ahdb.org.uk

19th-21st June 2018

CHAP Innovation Director addresses packed audience in Canada

Innovation Director, Ruth Bastow, represented CHAP at the Global Business Accelerator Conference in Canada. Innovate UK brought together 15 UK companies and the Agritech centres for a four day visit to Saskatoon and Toronto to work with the National Research Council Canada, Global Institute for Food Security, BioEnterprise and numerous Canadian Research Institutes to promote Canadian/UK collaboration in R&D and business growth across the Agri-tech Sector. During the visit Ruth was invited to speak to a packed audience to explain how our technologies aim to improve productivity, profitability and sustainability across agricultural.

You can find more about the GIFS conference http://conference.gifs.ca/

20th June 2018

Commissioning work on the E-Flows is underway

In the final stages of the E-Flows mesocosm, developed in partnership between Fera and CHAP, the flow through pumps are being tested on all the rushes. The E-Flows, the first of its kind in Europe, will perform simulations of natural aquatic environments under controlled conditions. As plant protection products, such as pesticides, are developed, manufacturers will use the E-Flows to demonstrate that their products are safe for aquatic environments as part of higher tier testing. Organisations from all sectors will use the facility to understand the movement of their products through simulated natural water bodes and the potential effects they may have on the organisms in them.

Plumbing work on the water treatment works has still to be completed as the builders fit the dosing pumps and housings, finish the gates and start a final tidy up. Once the flow through has been running well, Dr Rachel Benstead, the lead scientist, and the team, will be moving the plants from their nursery positions into their final positions.

Once the commissioning work is complete, the E-Flows will be available for use by the agri-tech industry and researchers and we expect to see many large research and development projects undertaken here. Its flexibility means that whichever water system is deemed to be at risk, it can be recreated on site to match the real life water body under review. This will not only be an important safety tool for higher tier risk assessments, but also a powerful marketing tool for new chemistries coming to market,

For more information contact CHAP@enquiries.co.uk

13th June 2018

CHAP’s trailer used to launch black grass resistance kit

CHAP’s trailer was the perfect vehicle from which to launch a new black grass resistance testing kit at Cereals 2018.
Yield loss due to black grass is estimated to cost UK farming an estimated £0.5billion per year and its control is one of the biggest problems faced by the arable sector. Work funded by the BBSRC in Rob Edwards research group at Newcastle University (one of CHAPs core members) led to the discovery of a protein (AmGSTF1) that is produced in larger amounts in black grass plants exhibiting resistance to multiple classes of herbicide. The resistance mechanism is also known as non-target site resistance and its increasing prevalence in weed populations is causing significant losses to UK farmers, as they struggle to achieve control using conventional methods.
This fundamental research led to a collaboration between Newcastle University and a diagnostics company Mologic to develop an in-field diagnostic test that could be used by farmers and agronomists to test the resistance status of plants in the field. The test is based on the same principle as a pregnancy testing kit, enabling users to measure the levels of AmGSTF1 within the plants in a couple of minutes, compared with the weeks/months required for laboratory testing. The increased speed and ease of use helps farmers to make quicker and more informed decisions about the methods they use to control this damaging weed.
The black grass resistance diagnostic (BReD) was launched at Cereals 2018 on the CHAP stand and is now available to purchase direct from the manufacturer at www.mologic-bred.co.uk/.

13th -14th June 2018

CHAP out in force at Cereals 2018

CHAP Partners joined forces for two successful days at Cereals in Cambridgeshire this week. The Newcastle team launched its Blackgrass resistance test kit to enable farmers to make instant diagnosis without the need to send samples away. There was much interest in Crop Monitor Pro which provides a national surveillance and risk forecasting services to warn of risks from crop pathogens and pests to allow farmers to make effective decisions according to their specific needs. Fera Scientists were on standby to answer questions about the newly built E-Flows mescosm, an edge of field water assessment facility, to allow environmental testing of plant protection products to meet regulatory standards.

31st May 2018

New potato disease risk module launched on Crop Monitor 

A new module delivering outputs on disease risks from late blight in potato crops has been launched on CropMonitorTM using a new bespoke blight forecasting model (BLEWS- Bright early warning System). The prediction models are accessing data from over 100 weather stations across England and Wales and will be supported by a participatory surveillance network which will be reporting first sightings of late blight in crops across the country.

This launch follows previous updates to CropmonitorTM including real-time surveillance data for pests and diseases of wheat, barley and oilseed rape and risk predictions for wheat pests and diseases. Currently, users can access regional risk predictions for wheat and potato pests and diseases as a free service. Local risk predictions will be available in 2019 when the subscription service is launched but until then local risk predictions for Sand Hutton, York (HQ for CHAP) are available as a demonstration so that users can view the range of prediction outputs available at the local scale. The website can be accessed at www.cropmonitor.co.uk and two Basis points are available to any users who sign up to receive free email alerts.

28th May 2018

CHAP trailer wins an award

CHAP/NFU trailer wins a special award for the best stand at the well attended Northumbria County Show at the Bank Holliday. Here they are receiving their prize from Lord Curry of Kirhharle, British farmer and businessman. Congratulations!

22nd May 2018

Two Centres get together to showcase Cranfield

CHAP and Agri-Epi hosted a BBSRC Seedling Catalyst Event at Cranfield University. The aim of the day was to showcase the Cranfield based facilities of the two Centres for soil health, precision agriculture, food storage, water management and satellite to seed. It was a successful day and included talks on CHAP/Agri-Epi and Cranfield University soil health and plant phenotyping facilities from Prof. Ron Corstanje, Prof. Wilfred Otten, Dr Lynda Deeks and Dr Boris Snapir. Visitors were then given a tour of the site.

21st May 2018

The E_Flows Water Treatment Centre is installed

The water treatment centre will ensure that any water from the mesocosm experiments can be thoroughly cleaned before it is discharged into the local water course. The E_flows mesocosm, which is almost ready for commissioning, will be used to test new Agri-chemical products to assess their impact on the natural environment. Some trials will be using chemicals which will need to be taken our of the water before it can be re-used or released.

You can find here more information about the mesocosm.

15th May 2018

The CHAP E-flows sparks much interest in Rome

Senior scientist, Dr Rachel Benstead, delivers a talk about  the assessment of key drivers in the aquatic environment at the SETAC Chemical Regulation Conference in Rome today. It sparked much interest amongst the international audience of leading chemical companies who have been following up with Rachel at the Fera/CHAP stand for further information. The E-Flows is now near completion. The plants are expected to arrive on site soon so that the final stages can begin.

You can find here more information about the mesocosm.

1st May 2018

If you are a potato grower – we need your help.

CHAP and Fera are pleased to announce that CropMonitor will be launching a new pest and disease risk forecasting service for potatoes in May. We are looking for volunteers to be part of a network of surveillance to report appearance of first symptoms in crops. Data will be collected from registered users via a mobile phone during the decision period for potato blight disease management. All data will be plotted in real-time on a map of the UK.

This new service is part of Fera’s CropMonitor platform (www.cropmonitor.co.uk) which. with direct support from CHAP,  is being extended and updated to form the core platform for a new national capability in decision support. The new service will deliver risk forecasts for pests and diseases of potato (launched in May), wheat, barley, oilseed rape using a bespoke weather monitoring network, national pest and disease surveillance data and advanced risk models.

The following information will be collected:

  • Date
  • Location (GPS)
  • Crop growth stage
  • Presence/absence of late blight symptoms
  • Date of commencement of spraying
  • Once a field is reported to be showing symptoms then no further reports will be required.

This new service will be available alongside the Fight Against Blight project (FAB, funded by AHDB Potatoes and managed by Fera). The additional activity is necessary because FAB does not currently collect negative findings, information which is critical to the validation of the SMART blight forecasting service, . The CHAP network will complement and extend the FAB network during 2018 with potential for a closer integration of the two initiatives in future years. CropMonitor will initially provide a forecast based on an existing blight risk model but the forecasting capability will be refined using the improved weather feed and disease modelling capability of the SMART platform.

To join the participatory network and for more information please contact cropmonitor@fera.co.uk. To keep up to date on developments with CropMonitor please visit the website and register for text or email updates (www.cropmonitor.co.uk).

26th April 2018

Yorkshire farmers inspect CHAP facilities

A group of Yorkshire farmers reacted enthusiastically to their tour of CHAP facilities at Sand Hutton saying they had learnt a great deal and had been given a lot to think about. They are seen here with Fera scientist, Sioban Ostoja-Starzewska, who is showing them how the mobile laboratories can be used by farmers, growers and agronomists who want to find solutions to specific crop health problems such as the chemical resistance to weeds, funghi or pests or general tests on soil health. This comes with on the spot advice on the best treatment solutions. They were also shown the e-flows mesocosm for the environmental testing of plant protection products which comes on stream soon.


23rd April 2018

New e-Plant Clinic Video

CABI have launched a new film highlighting the success of their international plant clinics which are supported by CHAP funded ipads.

18th April 2018

Giving evidence to the EFRA Select Committee

CHAP CEO, Fraser Black, told the EFRA Select Committee that he welcomed the new emphasis on applied technology but the best way to ensure the uptake of new technologies was to focus on pioneer farmers. Fraser said the Centre was planning to work through a number of demonstration farms where the new technologies could be tried and tested to show that they work so that other farmers would follow suit. He said that if the top farmers could show the benefits then medium farmers would be more willing to

adopt new practices. He also said that farmers would benefit from free independent advice which would mean smaller farmers could find out what worked best. The session focussed on the efficiency of UK agriculture, productivity and what more the government could be doing to support farmers.

You can listen to the session here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/42f87337-5ddf-4227-9b6d-8519224732dd

16th April 2018

Guided tours of CHAP’s facilities by chief scientists 

CHAP is producing a series of films about all our capabilities, to show farmers, growers, agronomists, breeders and anyone else with an interest in agri-tech what our facilities can offer.  The first two films highlight the CHAP soil health facilities at Cranfield University and CHAP’s Fine Phenotyping and Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at Rothamsted.

16th April 2018

Mesocosm update

There are now just six weeks until the completion of the works on the Mesocosm.  Here you can see the filling in of the walkways between the 60 rushes. With the average experiment requiring access to 20-30  (according to EFSA Guidance), the E-flows Mesocosm facility will have the capacity to support 2-3 independent concurrent experiments, reducing the waiting time for users. More information about the Mesocosm.

13th April 2018

CHAP’s Deep Water Hydrophonic facility springs into action

The first crop trial run through CHAP’s Deep Water Hydroponic facility at STC has been a huge success.  As part of AHDB’s SCEPTREplus project, lettuce plants were grown in hydroponic tanks and exposed to a disease that effects the plant roots.  An effective treatment was applied to one group of plants and the root growth was then compared between treated and non-treated plants. The difference in growth was immediately noticeable when STC and CHAP staff reviewed the trial this week.

13th April 2018

UK Agri-Tech Centres of Agricultural Innovation unveil shared vision online

The UK’s four Agri-Tech Centres have come together as one voice to showcase their commitment to positioning the UK sector as a global leader in sustainable food production. A new website  has been launched summarising the vision, aims and achievements of the four Centres. In line with the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy to Create a Better Britain, the four Centres are positioned to provide the expertise, infrastructure and commitment to deliver innovation and new growth for the UK agrifood sector.

Each Centre has its own unique focus and purpose:

  • CHAP is fundamentally changing the way plant disease and pest threats are managed
  • CIEL is driving new industry-led research to deliver sustainable animal production
  • Agri EPI is accelerating the uptake of precision engineering solutions
  • Agrimetrics is harnessing data to identify new agrifood solutions outside the scope of traditional thinking.

“It’s important that each Centre focusses on their specific objectives, but also, that they work together to address some of our most pressing food challenges that no one Centre can address alone,” says Innovate UK’s Calum Murray.

This new website provides new and existing audiences alike with an inspiring and compelling summary of why the Agri-Tech Centres are so important to UK food and farming – and what each Centre sets out to deliver.

Discover more about the vision, aims and impacts of the Agri-Tech Centres at www.agritechcentres.com

4th April 2018

Getting there… CHAP’s Biopesticides Facility is nearly ready for use.

The CHAP Biopesticides Facility based at STC is now only weeks away from running projects through its bespoke glasshouse unit (see picture). Work is already underway in a separate area of the site utilising the facility’s deep water hydroponics tanks, with completion of the glasshouse itself representing the final phase in creation of a one-stop-shop for indoor and outdoor biopesticide trials. Linking to other CHAP facilities across the country, designed for earlier stage biopesticide discovery projects and more robust exotoxicology trials, CHAP can now offer a full suite of resources to assist the rapidly expanding biopesticides industry in design and development of the next generation of crop protection products.

26th March 2018

Mesocosm Update

Building work continues on the CHAP mesocosm based at Sand Hutton near York.  The concreting of the rushes has been completed along with the fitting of electrics and water monitoring controls.  The lagoon drainage and lining is also in place and the pump station housings have arrived on site.  All in all a very exciting time during the development of the £4m e-flows mesocosm facility. This will be Europe’s most advanced edge-of-field water assessment facility which will enable environmental testing of plant protection products to meet the most stringent regulatory standards.  Read more …

21st March 2018

Four agri-tech centres come together at Harper Adams

All CHAP Partners were represented at the Innovate UK ‘show and tell’ agri-tech event at Harper Adams today. More than one hundred industry players queued up to inspect CHAP’s state of the art technologies. Scientists were on hand to explain more about what they do and how they can be used in collaboration with other partners. It was the first time that the four agri-tech centres had come together under one roof to show off their collection of technologies and, most importantly, how they interact and work with each other. After the event CHAP Chairman, John Chinn, said “ What made my day was so many of our guests describing the day as ‘exciting’ and ‘having a real buzz’. I feel really proud to be part of CHAP, as we move from asset building to transforming food production practice – through research work utilising our scientists’ brains and our great facilities”.

16th March 2018

CHAP’s brand new Fine Phenotyping Unit is up and running

Multi-spectral imaging of a strawberry in the CHAP Fine Phenotyping Unit at Rothamsted is being used to detect the early signs of rot (shown in orange). Using our VideometerLab imager we can define the specific optical characteristics of fruit deterioration for SMEs interested in using imaging to automate produce picking /sorting. Read more.

12th March 2018

CHAP funding helps plant doctors work efficiently in Nepal

Plant clinics taking place in Nepal have been enhanced using CHAP funded tablets to capture information about crop diseases. A trained plant doctor is pictured here using one of the CHAP tablets in Nepal, improving the efficiency of the clinic and speeding up the recording and validation of pests and diseases. Read more …

9th March 2018

CHAP’s soil unit story is told on film

Professor Jane Rickson from Cranfield University tells the CHAP soil unit story on film highlighting what the state of the art facilities can do to help farmers, growers and agronomists deal with a multitude of soil based issues. The facility offers precision control and monitoring of soil, water crop and climate conditions under a range of tillage conditions. It addresses industry’s key concerns around maximising the potential of soil; control of blackgrass; use of cover crops to improve crop health; and testing emerging smart technologies. Read more …

8th March 2018

First trial underway at the new CHAP hydroponic facility at Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC)

View of the first trial in the new CHAP hydroponic facility at STC. It shows a newly planted lettuce trial to explore the potential of novel chemicals and biopesticides for root-rot control in hydroponic lettuce, funded by AHDB through SCEPTREplus. This facility is a stand-alone unit (10×6 independent tank replicated facility) that can be moved into the new biopesticide facility, if needed.

28th February 2018

Technology is the way forward for agriculture says APPG Chair

At the APPG on Science and Technology event in Parliament in Parliament today Chairman, Julian Sturdy, said that the industry is facing interesting but difficult times ahead. He said that Brexit would present us with huge opportunities in the global market, but there needs to be a technological revolution to meet the challenges and to catch up with other countries which are ahead of us in productivity. He stressed that innovation, science and technology must lead the way. Also speaking at the event AHDB’s Chief Strategy Officer, Tom Hinds, said that we need to have more coordination in the industry’s knowledge exchange and ensure that the next generation has the right skills and training for the future. For the NFU, Dr Helen Ferrier said that the recently announced Industrial Challenge Fund will provide an opportunity to reset and widen the agri-tech strategy to be more inclusive so that we can really transform farming for the future.

23rd February 2018

Mesocosm Update

Progress on the Mesocosm build is progressing well despite the winter weather which has meant extra drainage systems have needed to be installed to keep the site dry. The main contractor Viridian has now set out the wooden moulds for all 30 of the mesocosm rushes, and started pouring the concrete that will form each 10 metre long section. The Borehole to provide water has been drilled and the lagoons which will hold the water to allow it to naturalise have now been constructed. Water will be circulated between the rushes through a series of three different pumping systems which have all been installed and will eventually be buried beneath the site. Work on constructing water treatment plant area has started and the activated carbon treatment vessels will be delivered in March before the site his handed over to the biology team for planting.

22nd February 2018

Progress in CHAP’s new LED vertical farm at Stockbridge Technology Centre continues at pace 

The new polished concrete floor is complete and the insulated panels for the growth chambers are now being installed. Read more …

20th February 2018

CHAP’s trailers go down well with growers and agronomists in Sussex

A joint Vitismart/CHAP grower day using the lab-to-field trailers and on board equipment was well attended at Plumpton College in Sussex. We were able to demonstrate how our technology can predict diseases using our smart surveillance approaches in vineyards.  Altogether there were 40 growers/vineyard managers/agronomists at the event. They were able to see for themselves how linking spore sampling with rapid infield testing using the Genie III system could help growers better control mildew and botrytis in their crops.  Read more

20th February 2018

First trial up and running at CHAP’s soil health facility at Cranfield University 

Cover crops and tomato plants are now growing fast in the soil health facility where soil physical properties and climate conditions are controlled in realistic pilot scale systems. This will allow for soil type – crop – tillage – climate interactions to be optimised under realistic scenarios as encountered in the field and over multiple seasons. In this first trial in these new facilities, plants that differ in root traits are being tested for their ability to cope with soil compaction at depth and to deliver proof of concept that cover crops with different root traits can improve soil conditions. Weighing platforms and moisture sensors allow for automated irrigation and a new soil root camera is used to visualise the root growth in situ and over time, and monitor the way roots respond to compaction and wetness.

16th February 2018

CHAP’s new biopesticide facility at Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC) is taking shape.

Despite this winter providing less-than-ideal weather conditions for concreting, the foundations for the new CHAP biopesticide facility at STC have successfully been laid. This marks a significant and exciting milestone for the build, with the ‘above-ground’ phase now expected to progress apace in the coming week or so.  Find out more about the biopesticide facility.

13th February 2018

CHAP takes the lead in agriculture sustainability and productivity says key MPs

Three members of the influential EFRA (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Select Committee spent a day with CHAP in Sand Hutton near York to see the very latest science and technology being developed to ensure that the ever rising population can be fed better and in a sustainable way.


The three MPs, including Chairman, Neil Parish and local MP. Julian Sturdy, both farmers were taken to see the brand new E_Flows mesocosm, currently under construction and which will enable environmental testing of plant protection products to meet the most stringent regulatory standards; they stopped at one of CHAP’s mobile trailers available to farmers, growers and agronomists for on-farm diagnosis and solutions to crop health problems; they were given a demonstration of a brand new facility being developed at Stockbridge, near Selby, which shows how different technologies in a controlled environment will impact the economics of LED Vertical farming and an introduction to CHAP’s smart technologies and precision machinery. CHAP CEO, Fraser Black, said that he was very encouraged by the engagement shown by the Select Committee and their willingness and eagerness to understand the relevance of what we are doing to improve productivity, thanks to the combination of innovative technology and the best scientific expertise.


After the tour committee chairman, Neil Parish MP said “This has been an incredibly interesting day and given us a lot to think about. It’s all very necessary going forward if we want to make sure that the rising population is better fed. I am certain that CHAP will be at the forefront of this. Julian Sturdy MP for York Outer said “The whole day has been very impressive. It is clear that Fera and CHAP operate at the very forefront of science and technology. Looking at the productivity graph it is clear that the UK is behind other countries, such as the US and some European countries. What we have seen from today means that the UK will be able to compete and catch up.” Sheffield MP, Angela Smith, who is also vice chair of the APPG on Science and Technology in Agriculture also said that she was “hugely impressed and that the productivity gains from these technologies are enormous”.

5th February 2018

CropMonitor extended and updated for 2018 season

The first phase of the new CropMonitor Smart Decision Support Service, part of the Crop Health and Protection Centre (CHAP) has gone live, providing access to live weather data for more than 100 locations across England and weekly updates on pest and disease levels in untreated varieties of oilseed rape.

Dr Judith Turner, senior plant pathologist at CHAP, says: “It is a small step forward in advance of what we will be releasing at the end of March. We thought the oilseed rape monitoring data would be useful to people at the moment.”

Dates for the launch of Crop Monitor’s new services have been announced. Further releases of this free service will include modules delivering live regional risk forecasting for pests and diseases of wheat (March 2018), potatoes (May 2018), oilseed rape (July 2018) and barley (March 2019).

Additional enhancements and decision tools will be introduced from June 2018 onwards and the full subscription services delivering local risk forecasts to assist field-level spray decisions will be launched in September 2019.

All current subscribers will start to receive email alerts from March onwards. If you would like to subscribe for this free service here.

2nd February 2018

Sustainable Soil Management

Congratulations to Rob Simmons from Cranfield University on his excellent article on Sustainable Soil Management  which is now live on Open Access Government. You can view the publication on: http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/Launch.aspx?EID=100e4ef2-b7dd-4f7e-91e2-4484fd9457b7  on P336 or on this link Adjacent Government Sustainable soil management challenges


26th January 2018

The new CHAP LED Centre at Stockbridge starts to take shape

Work on the new CHAP LED Centre at STC is now progressing. The existing building on the site has been dismantled and a new roof is already being installed.  A soon as this is completed, re-cladding will begin and the contractor can then start with the internal layout ensuring 2 growing compartments (5 growing tiers) each with bespoke LED lighting arrays to evaluate the economics of vertical farming, including optimisation of climate management in vertical crop production.


24th January 2018

It’s all happening at Stockbridge Technology Centre

Good progress is being made with the new CHAP biopesticide facility at STC made possible with funding through InnovateUK.  The groundworks have been undertaken  and the contractor is now installing the glasshouse supports or ‘dollies’ ready for the imminent arrival of the new glasshouse in early February.


13th January 2018

Exploring opportunities in Pakstan

Interim CEO, Chetan Parmar visits Pakistan to explore opportunities for collaboration. Here he is with Babar Bajwa (CABi Pakistan), Julian Smith (Fera Science), Sohail Qureshi (Swiss Consulting) at the CABi stand at the Pakistan Horti Expo in Lahore.

They were invited by the Government of Punjab Agriculture Department to attend the inaugural Pakistan Horti Expo 2018. Pakistan is the 4th largest producer of fruit and vegetables in the world. Pakistan’s main F&V crops are citrus fruits (mandarins); mangoes; potatoes; dates. The country is also the 3rd largest producer of rice. Only a few products are of export quality to the Western markets, such as mangoes and rice, and citrus exports are limited to central Asia due to control conditions. Therefore the Government wants to improve the systems in order to improve international trade but also bring in new crops that can exploit the vast array of climatic regions within the country. There are a number of development projects that the local Government is initiating and the local CABi team will be involving CHAP (and its Partners) as appropriate.

11th January 2018

Latest news from CHAP’s brand new Biopesticide facility at Stockbridge

CHAP’s new CEO, Fraser Black (centre) is given a preview of the new deep raft hydroponics system currently being installed at Stockbridge Technology Centre, near Selby.  The completed system will comprise of 60 independent tanks that will allow replicated trials on a wide range of topics from disease management to developing novel technologies for monitoring and controlling nutrient concentrations. Once commissioned later this month, we will be examining methods for controlling Phytophthora in lettuce crops as part of the SEPTER+ research program.  The system will allow us to solve many of the problems encountered in hydroponic systems and will allow rapid testing of chemical and biological methods for controlling root diseases.  

8th January 2018

Letter from new CEO Fraser Black

I am excited and honoured to have been invited to become the new CHAP CEO at this critical time for the agriculture sector. Today is my first day behind the wheel and I am looking forward to pressing the accelerator and navigating a clear course built on all the hard work that the Board and Executive team have been doing over the past 12 months. I have over 30 years’ commercial experience (sales, marketing, and business and market development) in the Bioscience industry. I have a passion for both the development and adoption of innovation to drive health and wealth and I am absolutely committed to the driving principle behind CHAP, which is that science, technological and process innovation is the key to raising crop productivity through transforming our approach to the management of weeds, pests, diseases, water and soil.

As you will see from our latest newsletter, CHAP has several new and cutting edge capabilities coming on stream this year. This includes the E_flows mesocom, which will provide a unique testbed for agrochemicals and other products, the Soil Unit at Cranfield, the Fine Phenotyping facility at Rothamsted, a new Biopesticide Screening facility and new LED facility at Stockbridge. We will also be working on a number of exciting new projects which we will be taking forward for funding rounds, whilst hosting regular engagement days to identify more opportunities.

I look forward to meeting you during the course of 2018, so that, together, we can make a real difference for farmers, growers and the food industry both at home and abroad.

5th January 2018

60 sumps are being installed for CHAP’s new world-class E-Flows Mesocosm

The January rain and mud has not put off work continuing on the E-flows Mesocom at Sand Hutton. John Topliss from Innovate UK inspects the site with lead scientist Rachel Benstead, Chetan Parmar from CHAP and Lee Maxwell from Veridian. The 60 Mesocosm sumps which are currently being installed will collect the water flowing from each individual experimental unit, and direct it to the appropriate discharge route.  These sumps can also be used for collecting samples of water or drift biota, and can even be used themselves as pond mesocosms in static conditions or at low flows.  The water supplied to the experimental units is drawn from a borehole, which has already been driven to the sand stone aquifer below.  It then passes through five shallow lagoons, which allow the water to age and naturalise for about five days before entering the mesocosm itself.  The CHAP E-flows mesocosm is the first one of its kind to provide fully flow through, field scale streams which can receive pulsed active ingredients and products at the rates predicted to occur in the environment and this will prove invaluable for testing agrochemicals and other products in the future.

4th January 2018

2018 is going to be a great year for CHAP

As soon as the Christmas and the New Year festivities were over, building work began again on CHAP’s brand new E_Flows mesocosm. Construction is due to finish by the end of March and this will be followed by a 12 week commissioning period before being open for business in the Summer. Also coming on stream this year is CHAP’s new multi sensor laboratory at Rothamsted in Hertfordshire. This will measure plant performance as well as the spread and impact of diseases and pests. At Stockbridge Technology Centre, near Selby, CHAP’s Biopesticide facilities are expanding with the development of a new biopesticide testing centre. This is being designed to provide a specialist, but flexible, facility for the independent and comparative evaluation of a wide range of biopesticide & bio-control products under optimum conditions to generate robust data for registration purposes and to showcase their efficacy for industry. CHAP’s soil health facility, currently going through testing will also be available for business in the Spring and will enable pilot scale testing of the interrelationships between soil health, water use and biotic factors such as  pathogens, weeds and roots. This, in turn, will help inform on-farm decision making and the development of more efficient and sustainable methods of food production.