About Us

Hill Court Farm Research Ltd offers independent research, consultancy and analytical services for agriculture, horticulture and the environment. Situated in Gloucestershire, the laboratory was set up in 2002 by two research scientists having several years post-doctoral experience in agricultural and environmental research and analysis and having published in excess of thirty peer reviewed scientific articles.

Dr Laurence Blake studied Environmental Biology/Chemistry at Oxford Brookes University, which was followed by a PhD by research in the Soil Science departments of Rothamsted Experimental Station in Hertfordshire and Reading University. This, and much of his subsequent research at Rothamsted, involved monitoring the long-term changes in the chemistry of soils subject to atmospheric pollution, acid deposition and soil acidification and the resulting effects on biodiversity. His second major area of research has been the cycling of nutrients in agro-ecosystems; the efficiency of use of nutrients applied in agriculture their losses and potential pollutant effects on the environment.

Dr Mechteld Blake-Kalff studied Biology at the Free University of Amsterdam specialising in plant physiology and ecotoxicology. This was followed by a PhD by research in the Biochemistry department of Rothamsted Experimental Station and Imperial College, London. This, and much of her subsequent research at Rothamsted, involved determining the biochemical processes of detoxification of xenobiotics (herbicides etc.) in plants. She has also researched into plant mechanisms of heavy metal tolerance. Her recent research has concentrated on the physiological aspects of sulphur accumulation, cycling and deficiency in agricultural and horticultural crops from which she developed the malate/sulphate ratio as a diagnostic test for the determination of sulphur deficiency.

Alice Phelps studied Zoology at Cardiff University with a special interest in the breeding behaviour of the common frog. She joined Hill Court Farm Research in January 2007 and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the analytical laboratory.