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Centre for Sustainable Cropping, James Hutton Institute
Balruddery Farm


Land use(s)

  • Lowland
  • Arable crop rotation over six fields (potato, wheat, barley, oilseed, beans) comparing an integrated crop system with conventional commercial practice.

Successes / outcomes

  • Integrated crop systems (reduced tillage, organic matter amendments, reduced fertiliser use and biodiversity management) have resulted in better soil biophysical quality, enhanced biodiversity and system function with minimal impact on crop yields.

Methods / issues being explored

  • Whole system approach
  • Solutions to reduce erosion and land degradation
  • Reduced use of / alternatives to inorganic fertilisers
  • Soil tillage and management
  • Reduced use of control chemicals
  • Precision farming
  • Introduction / management of water bodies

Data being collected on

  • Soil health
  • Yield
  • Costs
  • Biodiversity
  • Water quality
  • Air quality

Methods of data collection

  • Visual assessments
  • Field surveys
  • Commercial laboratories
  • Sensors
  • Remote sensing (LIDAR, satellites, drones, etc.)

Types of organisation involved

  • Farmers
  • Agri- or forestry industries
  • Academics
  • Advisory Services


  • Open days
  • One-to-one contact
  • Social media

Networks this organisation / initiative is involved in

  • LEAF


Cathy Hawes

Other organisations involved:

  • LEAF
  • Soil Association
  • PGRO
  • Agrii
  • Locavore
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Aberdeen

Land use type:

  • Lowland