Crop and Environment Sciences Department

The Crop and Environment Sciences Department is staffed by academics, postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers, and technical support staff. The academic staff lecture on many of the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Harper Adams, but play a key role in the delivery of the agriculture, crop, countryside and REALM awards.

There is a wide range of expertise in the department covering crop protection, crop production, field vegetables, fresh produce, soil and plant nutrition, environmental management, sustainable technologies, climate change, forestry, wildlife and conservation. Strong links with industry and professional bodies provide excellent support for the undergraduate placement year, and much of the research carried out by the department is funded commercially.

In addition to the central laboratories, facilities include a dedicated, purpose-built research centre with modern field laboratory facilities; a glasshouse complex; a suite of four controlled environment chambers, and field trials currently exceed 40 ha with over 5,000 plots of various crops.

Academic staff are actively involved in supervising postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers, as well as undertaking collaborative research projects in the following areas:

  • Cereal quality and mycotoxins
  • Nematology
  • Sustainable Technology
  • Plant Protection
  • Fresh Produce
  • Water Management
  • Soil and Compaction
  • Wildlife and Conservation

Other important areas of research for sustainable crop production include postharvest quality, efficient use of water by plants, and the impact of production systems on biodiversity and soil management. CERC also provides dedicated facilities and the technical expertise required to conduct the wide range of research projects and commercial crop trials undertaken by the University. CERC is accredited by the Pesticide Safety Directorate to conduct efficacy trials on agricultural, horticultural and stored crops.

The department has been delivering short courses for industry for over forty years. Current courses include the BASIS Crop Protection Award, Foundation in Agronomy, Soil and Water Management, Biodiversity and Environmental Management, Plant Protection Award, FACTS, Nutrient Management Planning and Grassland. Working together with BASIS these courses have been accredited to benchmark the training and awards against other higher education qualifications. This means that candidates working in the agricultural and related industries can achieve the Harper Adams University Graduate Diploma in Agronomy and Environmental Management, which is set at the equivalent level of the final year of an honours degree and leads on from the BASIS Diploma in Agronomy.

Staff also design bespoke courses to meet the specific needs of customers, such as Introduction to Agriculture for the Environment Agency, Potato Agronomy for Pepsico and F2F (Field to Fork) for M&S.