National Institute of Agricultural Botany


    AT the annual general meeting of fellows of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany at Cambridge on July 19, the chairman of the Council, Sir John Russell, in the course of his address stated that the year 1934 is one of the most important in the history of British agriculture for it is the year in which great schemes of organisation are being attempted. Gluts are good for no one, and it is far better to obtain supplies by definite organisation than by trusting to luck. For successful organisation, the best materials are essential, and the Institute, though not concerned with schemes for the organisation of marketing, is concerned with technical problems connected with improvement of agriculture. Its activities cover three broad fields. It helps the farmer by advising him as to the best varieties: it helps the scientific worker by telling him whether a new variety is worth marketing: and it helps the seed trade by forming a link between the genetical laboratory and the industry. The Institute is marketing this autumn a new oat, Resistance, which has yielded 32 per cent more than Grey Winter in the Institute's 1931-2 and 1932-3 trials; but this new variety requires clean, rich soil, and early autumn or February sowing in situations which are not too exposed, if its high yielding capacity is to be fully exercised. Sugar beet is another crop on which the Institute has done valuable work. The average yield for Britain is about 8 tons per acre. Many farmers, however, obtain 12-15 tons per acre. From this, it is apparent that the average yield can be, and will be, considerably increased if farmers grow the right strain.

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    National Institute of Agricultural Botany. Nature 134, 135–136 (1934).

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