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Harvesting combine data to tackle field-edge yield declines - Rothamsted Research

Study links biodiversity found just beyond the field with variations in yield

Rothamsted scientists are assessing whether flower-rich margins, hedgerows or tree lines are helping improve yield and asking farmers to help by sending them GPS data collected at harvest.

In return for their help, the Institute will provide farmers with an easy to interpret summary of the findings, with tips on how they might increase production.

The data will be integral to a study linking the biodiversity found just beyond the field with variations in yield within it

Dr Helen Metcalfe, who is collating the data, said different types of field boundaries could help to reduce the yield decline at field edges.

“Have you ever wondered what the true benefit of hedgerows, treelines or flower rich margins are on your crop yield? By linking the yield monitor data collected by GPS enabled combine harvesters with the presence of different landscape features, we will try to determine whether yield decline towards the edge of fields is associated with certain types of boundaries. Likewise, we will also identify whether features known to support pollinators and other beneficial wildlife are having a positive effect on yield in the nearest parts of the crop. We’d be really grateful it if any farmers with yield monitor data from their combines would share it with us.”

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