James Hutton Institute

The James Hutton Institute brought together the former Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and the Scottish Crop Research in 2011 and is a lead centre in the science and practice of sustainable agriculture and the environment.

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Primary Contact: Euan Caldwell (Head of Farms) and Cathy Hawes (Ecological Research Scientist and Coordinator for CSC)

[email protected] | 01344 928 5428

[email protected]

The Institute has a range of facilities across Dundee and Aberdeen including the International Barley Hub, Advanced Plant Growth Centre. The Dundee site is also home to Scotland’s first vertical indoor farm in collaboration with Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS).


The James Hutton Institute has around 270 ha available to conduct a wide range of agricultural, horticultural and environmental trials in Dundee and nearby Balruddery Research Farm. Balruddy research farm is the site of the Centre for Sustainable Cropping (CSC), a long-term experimental platform for arable sustainability research comprising of 42 ha. The platform is the first of its type and scale in the UK and provides an open research facility to test and demonstrate the economic, ecological and environmental trade-offs in sustainable land management over many decades

The Institute also manages over 1000ha of improved and extensive pastures, moorland, woodland and peatland, with sheep, cattle and red deer, at the upland livestock Glensaugh farm. Glensaugh has a long history of environmental data collection and the home of the Climate-Positive Farming Initiative. This new initiative seeks “negative emissions” through transforming farm activities. The farm is unique in also having an area of mature agroforestry, planted in the 1980s to explore the production benefits of integrating trees within a livestock farming system.


To test whether minimising losses and increasing the efficiency of resource use results in improved arable biodiversity, resilience, crop productivity and yield stability at a field-scale and over at least four rotation cycles in order to enhance biodiversity for ecosystem services and reduce the environmental footprint of crop production.


The Institute combines strengths in crops, soils and land use and environmental research, combining innovative field management with advanced crop varieties to maintain a healthy balance of outputs.

The James Hutton Institute also holds the National Soils Archive in Aberdeen.

JHI worked with Jersey Water and the Jersey Royal Company in 2020 for ‘Developing a catchment pollution risk model for pesticides’.

Most LEAF activities take place at the arable farms of Balruddery and Mylnefield, including OFS, and the annual field event “Potatoes in Practice” takes place here.

The James Hutton Institute undertakes research for customers including the Scottish and UK Governments, the EU and other organisations worldwide.


H2020 IPM Works;

H2020 Diversify;


Research interests:

Integrated crop management at the CSC aims to transition towards a regenerative system with limited reliance on external inputs (and ultimately no inorganic inputs). The CSC James Hutton Institute currently supports projects with various arable system focusses including:

  • Yield and economics
  • Plant economics
  • Soil quality and losses to the environment
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • IPM and monitoring
  • ​Cropping systems, impact assessment and whole systems studies

At Glensaugh, the Climate-Positive Farming Initiative looks at a transformational approach to farming that achieves net-zero or even negative carbon emissions, whilst also protecting and enhancing the natural assets of a farm and ensuring long-term financial sustainability of the farm business. This includes looking at on-farm renewables such has hydrogen powered tractors, and new bio-based technologies to further reduce plastic use on farm.