Glasshouse honour for former NIAB director
Shadow farm minister Jim Paice has opened a state-of-the-art glasshouse facility at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB).
The Park Farm development near Histon, Cambridge, incorporates the latest greenhouse technology and biomass heating.
It replaces older glasshouses due for demolition at the main NIAB site on Huntingdon Road, Cambridge.
Named the MacLeod Complex after former NIAB director John MacLeod (seated), the new facility is part of an investment programme to update and extend NIAB’s facilities for plant science, variety evaluation and seed testing.
Each of the eight new glasshouses varies allows different environmental conditions to be created to suit the diverse range of plant material.
This technology includes thermal roof shades, blackout screens, night break lighting, automatic irrigation, as well as supplementary lighting of different types and intensities.
An on-site weather station connected to the glasshouse climate control system automatically regulates the glasshouse temperatures.
Space is also used more efficiently than in the older glasshouses so our overall crop growing space is far greater.
A wood-pellet fired biomass boiler, grant-aided by the government’s bio-energy capital grants scheme, provides around 50% of the heating requirements.
This will help minimise the carbon footprint of the new installation.
From left to right: NIAB plant breeder Phil Howell; James Paice MP; NIAB CEO Dr Tina Barsby; former NIAB Director Professor Wayne Powell; and at front Professor John MacLeod.