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Strathmore Wildlife Cluster Visit



© HUTTON

Last week we were pleased to welcome, not only members of the Northeast Scotland FRAMEwork cluster, but also members of the Strathmore Wildlife Cluster to visit the James Hutton Institute based at Invergowrie. It was an action-packed day highlighting some of the work going on at the Institute.


We kicked off the visit with a tour of the Centre for Sustainable Cropping (CSC) at Balruddery Farm which aims to test the long-term impacts of an integrated cropping system on whole-system sustainability. Andrew Christie gave an overview of the six-crop rotation and the integrated versus conventional treatments that are central to the work of the CSC and Gill Banks outlined some of the biodiversity measurements that were taken there. We then hopped on a tractor trailer to visit the bean field within the CSC to hear from Euan James about the work his group are doing to investigate nitrogen fixation rates in different varieties of beans under the differing management conditions of the CSC. In true Scottish summer weather fashion, it was a rainy morning but there was a break in the clouds just in time for our tour.

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We headed back to the main site at Invergowrie and were treated to a lovely lunch featuring some Hutton grown raspberries and had lots of useful discussion around the clusters.

After lunch we were introduced to Tom V4, a monitoring robot from the Small Robot Company which is being hosted at Hutton. We will be testing its capabilities in things such as weed detection by deploying the robot in some of the field trials at the institute over the coming months.





After this we heard from Graham Begg who introduced the FRAMEwork project which he coordinates and went on to demonstrate some of the tools from another project called AgLands, that will support decision makers in the design and management of future landscapes.



© HUTTON


© HUTTON

Finally, we wrapped up our day by heading into one of the vertical growth towers on the Hutton site which is owned and run by Intelligent Growth Solutions. It was great tosee the range of crops growing this way, ranging from flowers, chillis and oak tree saplings all with minimalwater input and no soil.



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It was a day full of great discussion, questions, and thinking about what this all means for clusters moving into the future and we are looking forward to continuing to work with both our own cluster in the Northeast and developing stronger links with the nearby Strathmore Wildlife Cluster.

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