National Institute of Agricultural Botany


    ON the occasion of the annual general meeting of fellows of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany at Cambridge, the chairman of the council, Captain D. M. Wills, directed attention to the value of the Institute's system of substations. By means of this organization the Institute is able to make recommendations to farmers which are applicable to all districts (with two exceptions) south of a line drawn between Lancaster and Scarborough. There are at present two defective links in the Institute's chain of substations—the Fens and Wales—and the Institute hopes that these defects will shortly be remedied. At present there are substations at Sprowston, Norfolk ; Long Sutton, Hants ; Cannington, Somerset ; Newport, Shropshire ; and Askham Bryan, Yorks ; on soils ranging from blowing sand to heavy clay. In every case these substations are attached to an agricultural college, institute or station, and the trials are carried out under the supervision of a crop recorder who is responsible to the N.I.A.B. Although the primary purpose of a substation is the provision of trials upon which recommendations can be based, Captain Wills stressed the importance of another aspect of their work. It is possible for a farmer to visit any of these to see, under conditions which may be very similar to his own, trials of the latest introductions of plant breeders both at home and abroad, growing side by side with established varieties. This should enable him to form an opinion as to the suitability—or otherwise—of new varieties to his particular conditions. Finally, Captain Wills expressed the hope that the establishment of a substation in Wales would lead to the discovery of varieties particularly suited to the poorer soils, both in England and Wales.

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    National Institute of Agricultural Botany. Nature 140, 843 (1937).

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