The Crop Water Use Group takes a multidisciplinary approach to improve crop production when water is limiting. Our research projects include the disciplines of plant physiology, molecular biology, molecular genetics, soil water dynamics and irrigation science.

Water is the most important factor limiting crop production on a global scale; water resources are increasingly under pressure due to population growth, climate change, competition from diverse users and the desire to prevent environment damage. 

Supporting your business

We can provide expertise related to crop water use in areas such as: breeding strategies, crop physiology, rootstock physiology/genetics and irrigation scheduling technology. We are open to forming partnerships with research organisations and businesses, and are keen to accept postgraduate students onto our research programme.

Our people

Past PhD students

  • Demetryus Ferreira,
  • Jane Oputa,
  • Kyle Macleod,
  • Emmanuel Solomon.

Our facilities and resources

We have made significant contributions to understanding and genetically manipulating abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis as a means of controlling water use in crops; this work has exploited tomato (solanum lycopersicon) as a model crop. Our ABA work has also led to chemicals patented for use in controlling plant dormancy and branching.

We have identified and fine-mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL) related to crop water use in Brassica, Arabidopsis and hold a germplasm collection for tomato genetics. In collaboration with European SMEs we have developed irrigation scheduling tools by providing expertise in soil water modelling and in managing irrigation trials.

Facilities available to our group include:

  • Controlled environment cabinets for plant growth,
  • Glasshouse with root trait analysis equipment,
  • Laboratories for molecular biology, metabolomics and soil analysis.

Advanced Agrifood Training Partnership (AATP)

We are currently offering employees working with the agrifood industry the opportunity to obtain a fully-funded postgraduate research degree. Cranfield is a member of one of four consortia to have received investment from the BBSRC to provide advanced training for the development of the UK agrifood industry.

Eligible employees with the agrifood sector can apply to come to Cranfield to study a funded MSc by research or PhD on a part-time basis over a period of two to six years..

Collaboration and clients

Our group has obtained funding from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7), Research Councils UK (BBSRC), DEFRA and agrochemical companies.