A new 'Farm Platform' has been launched at Rothamsted Research North Wyke in Devon, aims to help farmers to optimise productivity in ways that are sustainable, whilst at the same time understanding the impact of farming methods on the environment.
Funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the North Wyke Farm Platform is comprised of three beef and sheep farmlets. Each of these will be managed differently so that scientists can understand how best to optimise production whilst minimising environmental impact. One farmlet will be managed with inorganic fertilisers to try to maximise production from the existing permanent pasture. The second farmlet will be run with reduced inputs relying on legumes such as white clover to capture nitrogen wherever possible. The final farmlet will allow researchers to experiment with the latest techniques and technologies such as introducing new varieties of grasses with desirable traits and understanding establishment problems. The Farm Platform will provide an integrated set of core data for the farming and research communities, including the measurement of field and water chemistry and water flow rates, greenhouse gas emissions from soils, livestock data and farm management records.
For more information see here.