The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: More crop per drop

Currently Active: 
Yes
Project type: 
Studentship

Using the latest remote sensing technologies, we aim to improve the sustainability of water use in the potted and cut herb production sector. Alongside reducing the water footprint of herb production, we hope to improve quality of the crop in terms of taste and shelf-life.

Project Overview

The project aims to reduce water used to produce herb crops
The project aims to reduce water used to produce herb crops

More than 18 million pots of herbs are produced in the UK each year, and much of this production occurs in Sussex by Vitacress Ltd. With increasing pressure on our already stretched water resources, ways to improve the sustainability of water use in agriculture must be found.
With a focus on potted and cut herbs, including parsley, thyme, basil and coriander, we aim to reduce the amount of irrigation water used during crop production. In doing so, we hope not only to maintain crop quality, but actually to improve the flavour and shelf-life of the herbs.

 

 

Remote sensing technology used includes infrared imaging and UAVs
Remote sensing technology used includes infrared imaging and UAVs

This project will utilise the latest technologies in thermal and remote imaging to address water use in a range of herb crops, each of which pose a unique set of challenges. Although this concept has been demonstrated before in other systems, the use of deficit irrigation to improve crop quality is a new approach in herb production. We hope that this research will increase our knowledge of how plants use water and respond to drought on a fundamental level, while also being directly translatable to provide on-farm water savings and the production of an improved crop for the consumer.

Supervisors: Prof Gail Taylor, Dr Hazel Smith & Dr Mark Chapman
Funding provider: Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Agricultural R&D Grant

Related research groups

Environmental Biosciences

Staff

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