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DEFRA Invests in Soil Microbiome Research to Boost Sustainable Farming

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced a significant investment in the future of sustainable agriculture.  

A £391,000 grant from the Farming Innovation Programme will support a collaborative project led by Eagle Genomics, Rothamsted Research, and CABI. The project aims to investigate the vital role of soil microbiomes in improving soil health and crop yields.

Soil microbiomes,  which encompass a vast array of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms, play a crucial role in soil fertility, nutrient cycling, and plant health.

By understanding the complex relationships within these microbial communities, farmers can potentially develop strategies to enhance soil health, leading to greater crop yields with reduced environmental impact.

“Eagle Genomics will analyse data signatures between different agricultural practises and link these to develop a barometer for soil health, while CABI will biobank these samples for provenance,” said Dr. Yvonne Pinto, Director of Strategy, Innovation, Sustainability and Bioeconomy, Ag Bio at Eagle Genomics.

“This will increase understanding of the effect of different agricultural practices on the functionalities of healthy and poor soil indicators.”

 Researchers from Rothamsted Research and CABI will offer expert scientific insights to link these signatures to agricultural practices, aiming to develop a practical 'soil health barometer' for farmers.

Professor Martin Broadly, Science Director, Sustainable Soils and Crops at Rothamsted Research added, "This project allows us to apply our world-leading soil science expertise to develop tools that directly support farmers in making informed decisions to improve the sustainability and productivity of their land."

This DEFRA-funded project underscores the UK's commitment to innovative agricultural solutions that support both economic growth and environmental responsibility.


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