Elveden Innovation Centre

Elveden from above with a stamp of a tractor over the top

Expanding on sustainability with a systems approach at Elveden

As one of the UK’s largest root crop growers, Elveden Estates are under constant pressure from end markets to improve sustainability metrics while also delivering quality produce. Recognising the results of Syngenta's five-year Conservation Agriculture & Sustainable Farming Systems project, the estate has partnered with Syngenta to host a cropping system sustainability trial.

Appreciating that altering cultivation systems often leads to different requirements in crop management, the trial set out to compare the impacts of different farming approaches on both financial and biological sustainability.

The trial layout sees a 15Ha area split in to 3 distinct management systems:

Image of a tractor in a dirt field with green in the background. Overcast skies.


Conventional which focusses on maximising the yield of the crop in the current season, uses intensive cultivations to prepare a fine seedbed and doesn’t hold back on CP and nutrient inputs.

Image of a tractor in a field with no grass, blue skies in the background.


IPM+ which employs reduced soil movement while adapting to seasonal needs for intervention, bases input decisions on pest thresholds or prediction services and a cost/benefit analysis. It embraces additional revenue streams from SFIs through the inclusion of cover crops etc.

Image of a dry field


Regen which focusses on the longer term. This system aims for a zero-till approach to promote soil restructuring to increase soil health and has tested alternative analytics such as Brix scores to advise on reduced CP and nutrient input. Further extending the work to improve soil health this approach sees the integration of a living mulch as part of this area, along with shorter term cover cropping and the potential to incorporate livestock grazing.

Reaping the benefits of direct drill systems is not consistent with root crop production, but with a focus on the longer term, the team are keen to assess where in the rotation these benefits can be realised.

This is an unconventional approach to trials as clearly the alteration of so many factors will raise many questions, but the single point of truth remains in the analysis of Net Profit – a metric all farm businesses must keep a keen eye on.

The trial aims to address some of the questions around the financial costs of moving towards more regenerative farming and where specific questions on the impact of certain inputs are raised, these can later be addressed through Syngenta’s network of replicated small plot trials.

Innovation Centre Results Meeting

Join us for the annual Innovation Centre’s Results Meeting at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club.

We’re delighted to welcome guest speaker Ben Harrison from Horsch UK.