Centre for High Carbon Capture Cropping Logo

A new research project aims to help UK farmers and growers to target Net Zero and increase farming resilience through diversifying their arable and forage cropping choices and systems, whilst supporting enhanced value chains for industries such as textiles and construction.

The Centre for High Carbon Capture Cropping (CHCx3) is a four-year, £5.9 million project, supported by a consortium of 22 industry and research partners and led by crop science organisation NIAB. It has been awarded funding by Innovate UK under the Farming Futures R&D Fund: Climate Smart Farming, part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme, and starts with immediate effect.

The research will focus on five cropping options: rotational cover crops, annual fibre crops (industrial hemp and flax) perennial forage cropping (including herbal leys), perennial cereal cropping, and perennial biomass crops (miscanthus, willow and poplar). As well as evaluating their potential to enhance atmospheric carbon capture and sequestration both in the soil and crop-based products, the project will examine the effects of cultivation systems and agronomy on economic returns and other environmental outcomes. Further work will optimise the production and use of renewable biomaterials for fibre, textiles, and construction and develop carbon insetting/offsetting platforms.

Hemp Horizon

The British Hemp Alliance is honoured to contribute across a variety of work packages and become the Centre’s ‘Knowledge Transfer Hub’ for hemp. It will provide resources to support the effective uptake and utilisation of crops with high carbon-capture potential, offer practical outputs such as crop guides, web tools and apps available to landowners, farmers and agronomists, as well as providing up to date news and information as the project progresses. There will also be a wealth of opportunities for its different stakeholders to engage with and participate in the ongoing research, including crop trials, field demonstrations, webinars, workshops and training.

Project Lead and Head of NIAB Innovation Farm Dr Lydia Smith explains that crop choice, management and utilisation all offer opportunities. “Farmers and associated industries can address climate change goals through input-efficient crops that are able to increase carbon capture, but they must have confidence in achieving profitable and sustainable outcomes,” says Dr Smith.

Project Knowledge Exchange Lead and NIAB Director of Agronomy Stuart Knight highlights that the Centre will build on NIAB’s extensive programme of crop diversity and improvement, farming systems and soils research. “The project will kick-start vital new collaborations between researchers, seed suppliers, growers and industries seeking to realise the full potential of crop-based products, establish new revenue opportunities within the carbon market, and give a major boost to our shared aim of achieving Net Zero,” concludes Mr Knight

The full list of project partners:

NIAB, Biorenewables Development Centre, British Hemp Alliance, Cambond, Carbon Farm Hubs, Cotswold Seeds, Crops for Energy, Dark Green Carbon, Elsoms Seeds, Energy Crops Consultancy, English Fine Cottons, FarmED, F C Palmer & Sons, National  Farmers Union of England & Wales (NFU), Natural Building Systems, Northern Ireland Hemp Association, Rothamsted Research, Scottish Hemp Association, Terravesta, UK Hempcrete, University of York, Unyte Hemp

If you are interested in getting involved, and following the overall project please click HERE, or contact the British Hemp Alliance directly via info@britishhempalliance.co.uk