Germinal’s 11-acre Research Station situated in Melksham, Wiltshire is managed by forage crop specialist Dr Joanna Matthews. Leaving NIAB, Dr Matthews will commence her work for Germinal in January 2018.
Paul Billings, managing director of Germinal GB, says he believes that this will help the Research Station to become a knowledge hub to help UK livestock farmers maximise their returns while achieving sustainable farming aims.
Livestock farming innovation
“Greater innovation in the use of forage is the key to reducing the cost of production in livestock farming,” he says. “Lower costs are the only real antidote to increased commodity price volatility and the uncertainty that abounds as we approach Brexit.
“Having a bespoke R&D facility will allow Germinal to showcase market-leading varieties, test innovative ideas in UK conditions, and demonstrate at a local level alternative forage species or cropping systems that we are bringing in from around the world.
“The research station will be integrated with our herbage breeding programme at IBERS Aberystwyth University and will provide facilities for Germinal to collaborate with many other industry partners on projects of great significance and benefit to the wider industry.
“We already have plans for over forty projects at the site, which will include trialling new forage varieties in UK conditions, testing concepts such as multi-species swards and investigating the regrowth potential of hybrid brassicas, for example.”
Dr Joanna Matthews joined NIAB in 2013 having gained a BSc in Agriculture and completing a PhD that focused on the potential for fertility-building crops in mixed farming systems. Having grown up and worked on the family livestock farm, Dr Matthews brings to Germinal a valuable combination of practical farming knowledge and progressive plant science experience.