Long-term rotation studies are rare in our industry due to short-term commercial and financial pressures, but they can provide powerful agronomic and financial information for UK farmers.
Part of NIAB’s charitably funded strategic rotation research programme, the STAR (Sustainability Trial for Arable Rotations) project is a fully replicated field-scale study, based in Suffolk and supported by The Felix Thornley Cobbold Trust.
It has been examining the interaction between four cultivation methods and four rotations since 2005 with findings demonstrating clear impacts of rotation and cultivation on agronomy and production. AHDB-funded research, using a set of long-term studies including STAR, examined the impact of adopting inversion tillage or non-inversion tillage approaches in cereal production systems and concluded that there was no strong reason not to use non-inversion tillage in preference to ploughing.
NIAB runs an annual STAR Open Day, usually in either May or June depending on the rotation. Further details and booking available late spring on the NIAB Event Hub
LEAFLET: STAR - summary flyer (2022)
REPORT: STAR - Year 16 (2020/21) project report - 2022
REPORT: STAR - Year 15 (2019/20) project report - 2021
REPORT: STAR - Year 14 (2018/19) project report - 2020
POSTER: Do rotations and cultivation affect soil health (2019)
REPORT: The STAR Project - long-term report Years 1-10 (2006–2015)
RESEARCH PAPER: Sustainability Trial in Arable Rotations (STAR project): a long term farming systems study looking at rotation and cultivation practice. Stobart, RM, Morris, N (2011). Aspects of Applied Biology 113
RESEARCH PAPER: Platforms to test and demonstrate sustainable soil management: integration of major UK field experiments. Stobart, RM, Hallett, PD, George, TS, Morris, N, Newton, AC, Valentine, TA, McKenzie, BM (2014). Aspects of Applied Biology 127