The 11–acre facility, located near Melksham in Wiltshire, will be managed by grass trials specialist Dr Joanna Matthews, who leaves her post at NIAB to join Germinal in January 2018.
Germinal GB Managing Director Paul Billings believes the development will create an unrivalled knowledge hub that will enable professional sports turf and amenity grass specialists to improve the performance and aesthetics of their green spaces.
“In a competitive market where only the best cultivars and seed mixtures will suffice, 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 grass seed species or turf management systems that we are bringing in from around the world.
“The research station will be integrated with our amenity 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 amenity varieties, and proving, in real world conditions, the benefits and advantages of site specific traits such as tolerance to shade and disease resistance under stress. We’ll also be collaborating with leading amenity nutrition manufacturers to trial a range of slow and phased– release fertilisers and specialist liquid and granular fertilisers.”
Dr Joanna Matthews joined NIAB in 2013 and brings to Germinal a valuable combination of practical grass trials knowledge and progressive plant science experience.