Harper Adams lecturer to advise on fresh produce research funded by leading UK supermarket

Harper Adams Principal Lecturer, Dr Jim Monaghan, is to work with one of the UK’s leading supermarkets on the latest leek research, as part of its Agriculture Research and Development Grant Fund scheme.

The scheme, led by Sainsbury’s, asks farmers, growers and suppliers to work together with science researchers on innovative projects to help build more efficient, resilient and secure British agricultural supply chains.

Dr Monaghan is involved as an advisor on a project that will look at the overwintering strategies for leeks. He said: “The Fresh Produce Research Centre at Harper Adams works with growers to address UK and global issues in horticultural crop production.

“Therefore we are delighted to be working with Sainsbury’s as part of their commitment to double sales of British food by 2020.

“The project aims to extend the production season and reduce the need for imports, as in 2013, 1400 tonnes of leeks were imported.

“This work will outline how storage techniques can be improved and which crop covers are most efficient at reducing the impact of severe frosty weather.”

The fund was launched last autumn, with grants totalling more than £1.2m awarded to 14 projects, spanning seven of Sainsbury’s key agricultural supply chains.

Harper Adams, Shropshire’s first university, will be working alongside Allpress Farms and Precision Agronomy. Allpress Farms is the main supplier of Sainsbury’s leek crop, with the results of the project being of direct benefit to the supermarket.

The outcomes of this project will also be fed into undergraduate lectures during sessions taught by Dr Monaghan.