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A new approach to agricultural innovation has been launched with aims to find, test and share solutions to the challenges of the future with farmers across the country.

The 3D Thinking concept, introduced by Frontier at a series of events in January, embraces the areas of Discovery, Development and Demonstration in order to deliver answers to the crop production questions growers will face in the coming seasons.

David Robinson, Head of Trials and Development, explained "3D Thinking is Frontier's new commitment to research and development. Agriculture is a fascinating industry which constantly brings new challenges; with dramatic seasonal variations, no two years are ever the same and growers need to adapt and change in line with this to remain successful.

"These challenges encourage innovation and the 3D Thinking approach is designed to find solutions to overcome them. Sharing new information and ideas with growers will help them to get the best from their crops, whatever happens."

The first phase of the programme, Discovery, incorporates long term projects driven by new developments, for example in technology and legislation. Frontier is committed to investigating different options on behalf of UK growers, including, for example, exploring alternative methods of black-grass management, such as spring cropping, and the latest UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology, currently being tested by precision crop production specialist SOYL in identifying crop performance issues.

The findings of the Discovery stage are then built on by the Development programme which focuses on testing specific solutions. Frontier leads the way in UK arable trials and its network of sites has been significantly expanded, with 12,000 plots now located around the country.

David continues, "Our trials work is the foundation of our advice and with 3D Thinking, there are more sites and more opportunities than ever, making Frontier even better placed to share the latest findings with growers on both a regional and national scale."

These conclusions are shared with growers through the Demonstration site network, presenting the Discovery and Development results on a real farm scale. With 21 demonstration sites countrywide and an additional five trials sites bringing the total to eight, growers are able to visit a location in their area to see Frontier's work in conditions that match their own.

David concludes, "3D Thinking is about answering the questions of the future in a way that our growers can easily access. The Demonstration phase brings together the whole 3D Thinking concept, with local Frontier experts on site to explain and show growers the proven results of our research, ready for them to implement on their own farms."

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