Dr Robin Walker

Research Interests

I am currently employed by SRUC as a Research Agronomist, with a remit to develop sustainable production systems for crops.

I have an interest in both organic and non-organic systems, with a desire to develop these systems to deliver benefits not only to the farmer, but to the wider environment. One of my major roles is the management and development of the long-term organic rotation trial at SAC Aberdeen which has been running since 1991. I have a particular interest in crop / soil nutrient dynamics, which stems from my PhD investigating crop growth and N use in reduced input conditions. Recent work has concentrated on the development of systems incorporating legumes into rotations either through undersowing, or as component of an intercrop.

I also have a keen interest in the environmental impacts of crops, their varieties and their role in rotations within agricultural ecosystems. This covers pest, weed and disease issues, biodiversity aspects, GHG emissions as well as nutrient use efficiency of the systems (mostly N and P). My research on this topic has spanned both organic, GM and various elements in between.

I am also interested in crops with non-food uses (energy, industrial, pharmaceutical), as well as energy balance / LCA issues linked to these and the systems discussed.

Teaching

I am the “Crop Production” module tutor for the Organic Farming PGDip course. I have supervised a number of student projects from degree through to postgraduate level, on topics ranging from biofumigation for control of nematode pests and weeds, medicinal crop agronomy (fatty acid production; essential oil production), seed priming (essential oil species) and the role composting has on soil health promotion in organic systems.

Research Projects

  • Sustainable cropping systems. (Scottish Government)
  • Sustainable farming systems (Scottish Government)
  • Improving P supply in organic farming systems (Defra)
  • An assessment of the potential impact on UK agriculture and environment of meeting renewable feedstock demands (NNFCC)
  • Organic Farming’s Benefits for Scotland’s Natural Heritage (SNH)
  • Opportunities for sustainable substitution of non-renewable materials with materials derived from agricultural crops (Defra)
  • Novel approaches to invertebrate control in horticultural crops (Defra)
  • Sustainable methods of clubroot control (Defra)

Selected Publications

  • Knox, O.G.G., Achara, O.N., Maskell, P., Parker, J., Alegria, R., Walker, R.L., Stockdale, E, Edwards, A.C. & Watson, C.A. (2014). Investigating the use of silage effluent to improve plant available P from phosphate rock. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 45:3, 332-346.
  • Ball, B.C., Griffiths, B.S., Wheatley, R., Walker, R.L., Rees, R.M., Watson, C.A., Gordon, H., Hallett, P.D., McKenzie, B.M., Nevison, I.M. & Topp, C.F.E. (2014) Seasonal nitrous oxide emissions in field soils under soil management of reduced tillage, compost application or organic farming. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 189:171–180.
  • Knox, O., Hall, C., McVittie, A., Walker, R., Knight, B. (2013) A Systematic Review of the Environmental Impacts of GM Crop Cultivation as Reported from 2006 to 2011. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2013, 4, 28-44.
  • Knox, O.G.G., Walker, R.L., Booth, E.J., Crossan, A. & Vadakatu, G. (2012) Capitalising on deliberate, accidental and GM driven environmental change caused by crop modification. Journal of Experimental Botany. 63 2  543-549
  • Walker, R.L., Edwards, A.C., Maskell, P., Watson, C.A., Rees, R.M., Knox, O.G.G.,  Stockdale, E.A. (2012) The effect of co-composted cabbage and ground phosphate rock (Gafsa) on the early growth and P uptake of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 175:595-603.
  • Pappa, V.A., Rees, R.M., Walker, R.L., Baddeley, J.A. & Watson, C.A. (2012) Legumes intercropped with spring barley contribute to increased biomass production and carry-over effects. The Journal of Agricultural Science 150,584-594.
  • Edwards, A. C., Coull, M., Sinclair, A. H., Walker, R. L. & Watson, C. A. (2012) Elemental status (Cu, Mo, Co, B, S, and Zn) of Scottish agricultural soils compared with a soils-based risk assessment. Soil Use and Management 28(2):167-176.
  • Dahlin, A.S., Edwards, A.C., Lindström, B.E.M., Ramezanian, A., Shand, C.A., Walker, R.L., Watson, C.A., Öborn, I. (2012) Revisiting herbage sample collection and preparation procedures to minimise risks of trace element contamination European Journal of Agronomy 43:33–39.
  • Watson, C.A, Öborn, I., Edwards, A.C., Dahlin, A.S., Eriksson, J.,  Lindström, B.E.M., Linse, L., Owens, K., Topp, C.F.E. & Walker, R.L. (2012) The role of soil-plant relationships and farm management practices for improving the micronutrient composition of food and feed crops. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, Special Issue  121:15–24.
  • Knox, O.G.G, Leake, A. R., Walker, R.L., Edwards, A. C. & Watson, C.A. (2011) Historical rotations of Scotland and their existence in the present day and toward the future. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 35: 2, 163-179.
  • Pappa, V.A., Rees, R.M., Walker, R.L., Baddeley, J.A. & Watson, C.A. (2011) Nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching in an arable rotation resulting from the presence of an intercrop. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 141:153-161.
  • Watson, C.A., Topp, C.F.E, Baddeley, J.A., Ball, B.C., Edwards, A.C., Rees, R.M., Walker, R.L. & Younie, D.  (2011) Influence of ley duration on nitrogen use by the subsequent cereal crop (spring oats) in an organically managed long-term crop rotation experiment. Journal of Organic Agriculture 1(3):147-159.
  • Edwards AC, Walker RL, Maskell P et al (2010) Improving bioavailability of phosphate rock for organically managed farming systems: A review. In: Lichtfouse E (ed) Genetic Engineering, Biofertilisation, Soil Quality and Organic Farming. Sustainable Agricultural Reviews 4:99-118
  • Walker, R.L., Edwards, A.C. & Watson, C.A. (2013) Nutrient cycling and soil fertility associated with long-term field experiments established in 1922 onwards. AAB Farming System Design Workshop. 6th March 2013, Newcastle, UK.
  • Rees, R.M., Angelopoulos, N., Ball, B.C., Drewar, J.,  Edwards, A.C., Helfrich, M., Te pas, C., Topp, C.F.E., Walker, R. & Watson, C.A. (2013) Does organic farming promote carbon sequestration and improve soil quality? 4th International Symposium on Soil Organic Matter 2013. 5-10 May 2013, Nanjing, China.
  • Ball B, McKenzie B, Holland J, Waterhouse A, Gordon H, Topp K, Watson C, Rees R, Griffiths B, Parker J and Walker R (2013) Tillage and mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions. Sustainable intensification: The pathway to low carbon farming? 25-27 September 2013 at John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh.
  • Walker RL & Edwards, AC. (2013) A comparison of two commonly used advisory soil extraction methods on a range of agricultural soil samples: implications for fertiliser P recommendations and system P use efficiency. 9-13 Sept 2013 at 7th International Phosphorus Workshop, IPW7, SLU Sweden. p154, Book of Abstracts.
  • Baddeley, J., Pappa, V., Rees, R., Walker, R. & Watson, C (2012) Assessing the role of cereal-legume intercrops in low-input rotational cropping systems. European Society of Agronomy 2012, Helsinki, Finland, 20-24- August 2012. pp136-137.
  • Walker, R.L., Edwards, A.C., Watson, C.A. (2012) Trace element budgets for organic farms: the Scottish experience. Micronutrients in sustainable agriculture, Uppsala, Sweden, 6 November 2012.
  • Sinclair, A. H., Edwards, A. C., Coull, M., Walker, R. L. & Watson, C. A. (2012) Trace elemental status of Scottish agricultural soils compared with a soil-based risk assessment. Micronutrients in sustainable agriculture, Uppsala, Sweden, 6 November 2012.
  • Walker, R.L & Watson, C.A. (2011) Are inadequate soil populations of complimentary rhizobia restricting UK self sufficiency in legume protein? In: Agricultural Ecology Research: Its role in delivering sustainable farms, Dundee, UK 15-16 June 2011. Aspects of Applied Biology, 109:71-77.
  • Walker, R.L. & Beadsworth, A.S. (2011) The potential of source-separated human urine to be used as a partial replacement for synthetic fertilisers. In: Agricultural Ecology Research: Its role in delivering sustainable farms, Dundee, UK 15-16 June 2011. Aspects of Applied Biology, 109:171-176.
  • Walker, R.L., Edwards, A.C., Öborn, I., Campbell, C., Coull, M., Dahlin, S., Eriksson, J., Frankow-Lindberg, B., Hillier, S., Lindström, B., Linse, L., Ramezanian, A., Lumsdon, D., Shand, C., Sinclair, A, Watson, C.A. & Wikstad, M. (2011) Developing strategies for the improved utilization of local- and site-specific trace element resources to enhance crop and livestock quality. In: Agricultural Ecology Research: Its role in delivering sustainable farms, Dundee, UK 15-16 June 2011. Aspects of Applied Biology, 109:71-77.
  • Knox, O.G.G., Walker, R.L., Booth, E.J., Crossan, A. & Vadakatu, G. (2011) Capitalising on deliberate, accidental and GM driven environmental change caused by crop modification. In: GM Crops - From Basic Research to Application, Rothamsted 28-29 June 2011. Aspects of Applied Biology, 110.
  • I. Öborn, J. Bertilsson, C.D. Campbell, M. Coull, S. Dahlin, A.C. Edwards, J. Eriksson, B. Frankow-Llindberg, S. Hillier, B. Lindström, L. Linse, Lumsdon, C. A. Ramezanian, D. Shand, A. Sinclair, R.L. Walker, C.A. Watson & M. Wivstad. (2011) Micronutrient management strategies - How to utilize local and site specific resources to produce high quality products? 11th International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements, Florence Italy, July 3-7, 2011.
  • Baddeley, J.A. Pappa, V.A., Walker, R.L., Rees, R.M. & Watson, C.A. (2011). Assessing the economic value of cereal-legume intercrops in low-input rotational cropping systems. Aspects of Applied Biology 113, 127-132.
  • Knox, O.G.G., Walker, R.L., Edwards, A.C., McVittie, A. & Maskel, P. (2011) Implications of green manure crop cultivation with rock phosphate in organic rotations. Aspects of Applied Biology 113, 101-106.
  • Walker, R.L., Watson, C.A. & Edwards, A.C. (2011) The long-term effects of widely differing soil pH on the yields of an eight course crop rotation established in 1961. Aspects of Applied Biology 113, 111-115.
  • Walker, R.L., Watson, C.A., Armstrong, G. & Ball, B. (2011) The effects of crop rotation and soil management on worm activity and general soil health. Aspects of Applied Biology 113, 149-154.
  • R. L. Walker, C. A. Watson and A. Roberts (2010) Pre-treatment and seed rate effects on the establishment, growth and nutrient content of Caliente ( a biofumigant crop) grown near Arbroath. Proceedings of the Crop Protection Northern Britain Conference, February 2010. pp149-154.
  • R. L. Walker and K. Kremmydas (2010) Biofumigant crops and their potential to reduce nematode pest and weed problems in a glasshouse system. Proceedings of the Crop Protection Northern Britain Conference, February 2010. pp155-160.
  • Booth, E., Walker, R.L., Bell, J., McCracken, D., Curry, J., Knight, B. Smith, J., Gottschalk, P. & Biddell, A. (2010) Biomass opportunities – addressing agricultural and environmental requirements. Proceedings of the Crop Protection Northern Britain Conference, February 2010. pp27-32.
  • R.L.Walker, O.G.G.Knox, C.A.Watson, P.Maskell, A.C. Edwards, E.A. Stockdale (2010) New approaches to improving the supply of phosphorus. 2010 Organic Producer Conference, Harper Adams: Promoting organic principles, best practice and policies.
  • C.A. Watson, J.A. Baddeley, B.Ball, D. Moran, V.Pappa, R.M. Rees & R.L. Walker (2010) Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from organic farming. 2010 Organic Producer Conference, Harper Adams: Promoting organic principles, best practice and policies.
  • Pappa, V.A., Rees, R.M., Walker, R.L., Baddeley, J.A. & Watson, C.A. (2010). Effects of intercrops in three year low input rotation. Proceeding of SAC/SEPA Conference, “Climate, Water and Soil: Science, Policy and Practice”. Edinburgh, 31 March-1 April 2010, p.153-158.
  • Watson, C.A., Topp, C.F.E. & Walker, R.L. (2010) Long-term rotational experiments – pointers for future experimental design. Proceedings of Agro 2010, the XI ESA Congress, Montpellier. pp793-794.
  • Walker, R.L. (2010) Nutrient dynamics of organic cropping systems: a tricky balance. Proceedings of 15th World Fertilizer Congress of the International Scientific Centre for Fertilizers (CIEC), Bucharest, Romania, 29 Aug – 2 Sept, p.139-147.
  • R.L. Walker, I. Öborn, J. Bertilsson, C.D. Campbell, M. Coull, S. Dahlin, A.C. Edwards, J. Eriksson, B. Frankow-Llindberg, S. Hillier, B. Lindström, L. Linse, A. Ramezanian, D. Lumsdon, C. Shand, A. Sinclair, C.A. Watson & M. Wivstad (2010) Micronutrient strategies in organic systems: using local and site specific resources to improve crop and livestock quality. Proceedings of 15th World Fertilizer Congress of the International Scientific Centre for Fertilizers (CIEC), Bucharest, Romania, 29 Aug – 2 Sept, p.678-684.
  • R.L. Walker, A.C. Edwards, C.A. Watson, C.D. Campbell, S. Hillier & L. Morrice (2010) Nutrient cycling and soil fertility information gained from various long-term field experiments established on a granitic derived soil located in NE Scotland. Proceedings of 15th World Fertilizer Congress of the International Scientific Centre for Fertilizers (CIEC). Bucharest, Romania, 29 Aug – 2 Sept, p.503-512.
    Ingrid Öborn, Jan Bertilsson, Colin D Campbell, A Sigrun Dahlin, Anthony C Edwards, Jan Eriksson, Bodil E Frankow-Lindberg, Stephen Hillier, Bodil Lindström, Lisbeth Linse, David Lumsdon, Atefeh Ramezanian, Charlie Shand, Alex H Sinclair, Robin L Walker, Christine A Watson, Maria Wivstad (2010) Micronutrient management strategies - How to utilize local and site specific resources to produce high quality products? Proceedings of COST Action; FA 0905- Mineral Improved Crop Production for Healthy Food and Feed - Antalya, Turkey, 1-5 November 2010.

 

 

Dr Robin Walker

Research Agronomist

Address: Crop & Soils Systems, SRUC Aberdeen Campus, Craibstone Estate, Aberdeen AB21 9YA

Telephone: 01224 711 209

Fax: 01224 711 293

E-mail: robin.walker@sruc.ac.uk