Harper Adams PhD student Michele Faralli has been carrying out research to determine whether waterproofing oilseed rape crops can lead to greater yields.
Oilseed rape is highly susceptible to drought. Michele said: “I have been using a natural waterproofing spray, derived from conifer plants, on oilseed rape samples in both greenhouse and field environments. I hoped to see if it led to plants retaining more water during drought.
“The field experiment results showed a 50 per cent increase in yield when a droughted crop was sprayed, compared to the crop not being sprayed. This built-on my previous greenhouse research which found a yield increase of 30 per cent.”
Michele has now moved on to a second field trial and hopes to release final results in summer 2016.