Germinal Horizon Wiltshire
Germinal Horizon Wiltshire is a specialist research facility and a working livestock farm. The 11-acre site is set up to help develop new grass and forage varieties and provides a vital link between the science of forage breeding and farming practices.
Germinal is invested in shared knowledge that leads to improvements in farming through pioneering products and best practice. The research and trial programme throughout the year aligns with plant breeding R&D at Germinal Horizon Aberystwth and is conducted by an expert team.
Dr Joanna Matthews
Technical trials manager
BSc (Hons) Degree in Agriculture, MPhil, PhD
Dr Joanna Matthews occupies the space between plant breeding and commercial adoption. This can cover the management of wildflowers, multi-species swards, brassicas, undersowing maize and topical challenges in the industry.
Joanna tests the scientific theories and Germinal’s innovative products under various management scenarios to provide valuable information for commercial on-farm or on-course success. This is achieved by scientifically rigorous plot trial work while injecting as much commercial reality as possible.
A broad range of trials are sown on an annual basis and last from one season to five or beyond, depending on the individual requirements. Joanna excels at statistical analysis of data and can disseminate information to farmers and merchants on open days.
Herbage Seed Production and Product Development Officer
BSc (Hons) Degree in Agriculture with Crop Management, BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection, FACTS Qualified Advisor
Grace’s role at Germinal Horizon Wiltshire largely consists of maintaining and assessing trial plots of different forage varieties and mixtures to monitor their performance under different husbandry methods. This includes monitoring for yield, quality, diseases and ground cover in the first instance with some trials more focussed on specific traits such as mycorrhizal colonisation of root tissue or nitrogen use efficiency.
Germinal Horizon Wiltshire tests a wide range of varieties and mixtures and then feeds back to farmers on the optimal husbandry to maximise their forage mixtures in the field – all while utilising good experimental practice to ensure results are scientifically tested.