NCS Project Progress

Project Progress

Below you will be able to find information on how the initial aims and plans of the project along with up to date information on where it is today. Take a look and make sure to get in touch if you have any questions.

Year 1: 1 April 2023 to 1 April 2024

We are excited to announce that we are now recruited our Pulse Pioneers! In Year 1 we are hoping to recruit 10 farmers who will be paid to carry out on-farm trials as part of the NCS project. If you would like to learn more about the role, please get in touch by clicking the button below or complete the survey on the right:

We are working hard to hold workshops and events to meet farmers who could become Pulse Pioneers. An essential focus within this project is that the trials carried out are farmer-led. By networking directly with enthusiastic farmers, we are creating protocols and trial designs aiming to be directly beneficial to these forward-thinking farmers. Join PulsePEP and get involved in the discussion.

Project Plans

A new PulsePEP (Performance Enhancing Platform) community is being established – a platform and knowledge exchange hub for farmers who are striving to achieve the best from pulse crops and reduce their carbon emissions.

The aim is to have at least 200 farmer members who will benchmark their GHG emissions throughout the lifetime of the project and build to a total membership of at least 500 farmers.

From this community, a group of Pulse Pioneers will be selected to host paid-for trials on their own farms. These trials test novel concepts, ideas, products, rations and sensors designed to help farmers reduce GHG emissions.

Work Package 1

LEAD: THE JAMES HUTTON INSTITUTE
KEY CONTACT: DR PIETRO IANNETTA (PETE.IANNETTA@HUTTON.AC.UK)

The aim of this work package is to gather data and draw insight across all work packages for impact evaluation. This feeds into the UK’s first comprehensive life-cycle assessment of arable cropping systems.

It brings together all project data including methodologies, raw data files, scientifically peer-reviewed papers and other summary reports. Information is also be gathered from the 200 PulsePEP farmers, who receive tailored advice from Farm Carbon Toolkit to establish their farm carbon footprint baseline and whose GHG emissions are tracked throughout the project.

Using the newly developed GOBLIN Modelling Framework, data is integrated from the James Hutton Institute long-term project Centre for Sustainable Cropping along with information from secondary databases.

This work package makes it possible to compare and contrast different assessment tools and agronomic approaches to elaborate the detail underpinning farm carbon emissions, informing land-use risk assessments of crop rotations.  

Work Package 2

LEAD: ADAS
KEY CONTACT: DR PETE BERRY (PETE.BERRY@ADAS.CO.UK)

This work package provides data to test the hypothesis that increased pulse cropping can substantially reduce carbon emissions from agriculture. This is done using historic farm data along with data from new on-farm trials and the Pulse Yield Enhancement Network (YEN). Farmers work with scientists to put to the test, in their own commercial crops, novel practices proven in experimental platforms (see WP3).

Some use PBL Technology’s new in-soil nutrient sensors or novel porous pots used by the Allerton Project to track nitrate losses. Agrii are closely studying the effect of legume crops across the rotation, with further monitoring conducted through satellite imagery via Rhiza’s digital agronomy platform ‘Contour’.

Evidence about the impact of pulse crops on nitrogen usage, crop productivity, costs, sustainability, environmental impact, and water quality is evaluated as part of the project with the Farm Carbon Toolkit. This brings new relevant information into farmers’ carbon calculations to improve the accuracy of emissions and carbon storage measurement for farmers growing pulse crops.

ADAS is developing the PulsePEP platform which acts as a knowledge exchange hub for the community of farmers, scientists, and tech innovators engaged in the project. This enables ideas, data, experience, and tools for on-farm testing to be shared among those most involved and interested as discoveries move on and adapt.

Work Package 3

LEAD: PGRO
KEY CONTACT: ROGER VICKERS (ROGER@PGRO.ORG)

This work package aims to identify and quantify the resilience of soil GHG emissions under climate change. It also provides baseline and historical contexts for legume management and inclusion on GHG emissions, carbon footprint, environmental impact, and economic returns.

It evaluates the relative GHG emissions, soil health and nitrogen benefits of legumes in rotations, bringing together work from Cranfield University, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the James Hutton Institute, along with other experimental platforms.

A key platform is CHAP’s Plant Phenotyping and Soil Health Facility at Cranfield University. This huge greenhouse allows precise and accurate measurements of the whole crop production cycle in large, custom-built soil containers. Click the picture to find out more!

Work Package 4

LEAD: MCARTHUR AGRICULTURE
KEY CONTACT: JOHN MCARTHUR (JOHN@MCAGRI.CO.UK)

This work package aims to replace imported soyabean meal with home-grown legumes and pulses in animal feeds. On the livestock side, end use of pulses and legumes in animal feeds are being developed in work led by McArthur Agriculture along with other work package partners.

Farm-based heat treatment and de-hulling of beans, whole crop forage optimisation are among a score of other innovative techniques deployed in both scientific and commercial trials. These are applied across a range of livestock sectors to assess how diets can be reformulated based around home-grown proteins.

Work Package 5

LEAD: PGRO
KEY CONTACT: ROGER VICKERS (ROGER@PGRO.ORG)

The aim of this work package is to establish the best scenarios for delivering the optimum environmental and financial return on investment for farmers from pulse crops.

It also aims to establish the carbon cost-benefit analysis of transitioning to increased production of legumes and pulses in UK, alongside changes in livestock diets in favour of home-grown legumes and pulses and away from soyabean meal.

Collating all external project data and conducting a cost-benefit analysis results in the feasibility and policy reports. These will ensure the project has impact, delivers resilience to the whole of UK Agriculture and that it stays on track for its ambitious net zero goals.