The Germinal Research Station is based in Wiltshire on a working beef farm, in a major livestock production area, it combines the science and rigour of trials, with the application and practical application of farming. Whilst still using small plot work, it is a screen for official trials for varieties of grass, clover, maize, forage brassica and herbs, such as chicory and plantain. Trials undertaken at this site ensure only the best varieties go forward to final official testing.
Alongside the work of variety assessment, the Germinal Research Station goes deeper, looking at more applied applications, seed rate optimisation, not just to save costs, but also to ensure the subsequent crops are at optimum plant density. Nutrient management is a “hot topic”, agriculture needs to become more efficient in the way it uses nutrients, trials are taking place with targeted seed treatments, to place small but essential levels of nutrient directly with the seed for maximum efficiency, combined with new varieties of grass and clover, developed at IBERS with a lower requirement for Nitrogen and Phosphate are now being trialled. The Research station is also looking at crop rotation methods and timing of establishment, for example drilling new novel species of winter active Triticale (T100) directly in to maize stubble alongside controls, such as Italian Ryegrass. Where we are looking for multiple benefits, soils stabilisation, lower nutrient run off and a harvestable silage yield in early spring.
The Germinal Research Station is comprehensively equipped, staffed by Jo Matthews formerly head of forage trials for the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), it has a modern Haldrup plot harvester with on-board Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) capability, ovens for drying crops and the latest seed drills and crop establishment equipment.
There are also conference facilities for farmer and trade meetings.
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