What is Yield Improvement?Whilst much work has been done to produce high yielding varieties, farmers still only get a fraction of the yield potential of most crops. There are many reasons for this including stress, agronomy, and efficiency of inputs. The ultimate aim of all Levity’s research is to lift yield of the crops we work on, getting production up by squeezing as much performance as possible out of a crop. We do this by properly understanding why yield is restricted, and developing inputs which help farmers get more from their crops.
Most Yield is Lost to Environmental Stresses
Partitioning Plant Energy to Growing the Parts of the Plant we Harvest Can Improve Yield
Most of the fertilisers applied to crops are wasted, getting more into crops improves yield and sustainability.
Using Plant Science to Improve Yields
Most crops around the world only ever achieve a fraction of their potential, closing the yield gap between potential yield and average yield is a key challenge for food security. So why do crops not reach their potential? Stress, climate, and pests and diseases all play a role, as do ineffective use of inputs (much of the fertiliser applied to crops is wasted as pollution). Not only must we increase yields to feed a growing population, we must find ways to do so on poorer quality land, with less water, and in a changing climate. We must find ways to grow that are more sustainable and use lower inputs. These are the challenges facing farmers today.
At Levity we believe that only new ways of thinking can solve these problems, that agricultural inputs need a fresh look. Our scientists study plant physiology and use the knowledge gained to find new ways to increase yields. We take time to listen to farmers and understand what they need. By understanding the problems faced by growers, and applying crop science we produce products that can help farmers deliver more and better crops with lower inputs.
Average Potato Yield Potential Lost
- Netherlands 54% 54%
- USA 55% 55%
- Egypt 67% 67%
What We Do
Levity use a unique combination of crop science and agronomy to find better ways to grow crops. Our scientists are researching how plant physiology can improve agricultural inputs to develop products that help farmers produce better yields.
Levity have world class research facilities split between two sites at Myerscough Agricultural College and Lancaster University. Our team of scientists enjoy unrivalled access to formulation and development labs, testing labs, controlled environment growth rooms, experimental glasshouses, field test sites and a huge array of analytical equipment.
Lab to Land
What sets Levity apart is how we approach product development. We bridge academia and industry, taking the very latest in academic research and finding ways to put it to practical use to solve problems for farmers. Our products start on a farm where our expert agronomists take time to understand the challenges faced by growers, we then go back to the lab and apply crop science in research programmes. The products that emerge are tested around the world in rigorous independent trial programmes before we are finally ready to go back to the farm with a new product.
Stress from the weather and environment (abiotic stress), is responsible for more crop losses than pests and diseases. By helping plants cope better with stress yields can be raised. Levity’s research into stress tolerance is helping us to develop products that farmers can use to protect crops against drought, salinity, cold, and other stresses. This work will help farmers to produce more where water is scarce or of low quality, and where growing conditions currently reduce yields.
What are we trying to grow? That is the question Levity’s science team ask when they work on growth partitioning. Levity are using crop science to understand how to get crops to use more of the food we supply them to grow the parts of the crop we harvest (fruit, grain and tubers) rather than the parts we discard. Levity’s research into growth partitioning is helping us to create smarter fertilisers, fertilisers which go to the parts of the plant we need and give farmers ‘more crop per drop’.
Quality & Marketable Yield
Much of the food produced by farmers is not sold due to poor gradings and quality problems. Size, taste, colour, uniformity are all impacted on by plant physiology, and Levity is using it’s understanding of what creates the problem to research ways to improve the grading and quality of fruit and vegetable crops around the world. Our research is making cherries redder, strawberries sweeter, potatoes have better skin finish, cauliflowers bruise less, apples have less bitter pit, lettuce last longer and much more. The aim is to make sure farmers have new products to enable more food to be sold rather than dumped.
Nutrient Use Efficiency
Most of the fertiliser applied to crops end up in the environment, not the crop. Levity are finding ways to improve this through our research into nutrient use efficiency (NUE). Our research team study the way crops take up and use fertilisers, and find ways to make them easier for plants to take up and metabolise. Our research produces smarter fertilisers that go into the plant and are not lost to water courses and the atmosphere as pollution. This gives farmers fertilisers that work harder, producing higher yields with lower inputs.
The Potato Results… LimiN™ Technology*
Percent Yield Increase
Extra Tonnes of Potato
* Independent Trials 2015
To feed a growing world food production needs to go up, however we need to find better ways to achieve this so that agriculture can lift yields without harming the environment. Since the 1960s crop yields have gone up a lot, but the increase has been far too reliant on heavy inputs of fertiliser and agrochemicals. At Levity we are taking time to think about new ways of increasing yields, so that we can help farmers to produce more with less. New advances will not come from old ideas, and I am proud that Levity are part of a community of crop scientists working hard to change how we grow food.David Marks
At Levity we are developing formulations incorporating our unique chemistry with natural materials to produce products that result in low inputs with improved outputs focusing on the issues that farmers encounter every day. This leads to our products improving marketable yield. This is better for the grower, consumer and the environment. We are passionate at Levity in getting this message across.Stephen Houghton