PhD Studentship: Evaluating the Impact of Canopy Architecture on Radiation Use Efficiency and Yield Potential of Sugar Beet

University of Nottingham - Plant & Crop Sciences

Location: Sutton Bonington

Supervisor: Prof Debbie Sparkes

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Erik Murchie

Subject Area: Crop science

Research Title: Evaluating the impact of canopy architecture on radiation use efficiency and yield potential of sugar beet.

Research Description

In recent years, sugar beet varieties have been released which vary widely in canopy architecture. Some have a very prostrate canopy whilst others have a much more upright growth habit. Radiation interception in sugar beet is directly related to sugar yield and hence early canopy closure is key to maximise yield. Weekly assessments of canopy cover have shown significant differences between prostate and upright varieties in their rate of canopy closure and hence early radiation interception.

This project will select varieties that contrast in canopy architecture and test the hypothesis that a more upright leaf structure leads to greater radiation use efficiency. The project will also examine whether a more upright habit justifies a higher plant population and/or changes in optimum nitrogen application rates to maximise yield.

Experiments, both in controlled environments and the field, will use the latest techniques to quantify canopy architecture and to investigate the impact of canopy architecture on radiation use efficiency and, ultimately, sugar yield.

Award Start Date: 01/10/2018

Duration of Award: 48 months

Terms and Conditions

The successful student will be based at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington Campus.

This four year studentship, starting in September 2018, is funded by the Chadacre Agriculture Trust, the Felix Cobbold Trust, The Morley Agricultural Foundation and the British Beet Research Organisation. The studentship covers the UK/EU tuition fee (£4,300 p.a.) and a tax-free stipend based on BBSRC rates (currently £14,553 p.a.).

Applicant Qualification Requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a BSc (Hons) degree in agriculture, crop science, or related subject, at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) and meet the University’s minimum English language entry requirements. Candidates must have an aptitude for research, excellent communication skills, and a passion for translating research results into practical messages for growers.

How to Apply

Applicants should send a CV, including the names of two referees, and covering letter to by 30th March 2018.

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