Germinal Horizon Wiltshire
Germinal Horizon Wiltshire is a key step in innovation and product development. It is the link between pure science and novel breeding, which is conducted at Germinal Horizon Aberystwyth.
Germinal Horizon Wiltshire is situated on a working beef farm in a major livestock production area. It combines the science and rigour of trials with the practical application of farming. While still using small plot work, it is a screen for official trials of varieties of grass, clover, maize, forage brassica and herbs, such as chicory and plantain. Trials undertaken at Germinal Horizon Wiltshire ensure only the best varieties go forward to final official testing.
Alongside the work of variety assessment, the Germinal Horizon Wiltshire goes deeper, looking at more applied applications, including seed rate optimisation. This is not just to save costs, but also to ensure the subsequent crops are at optimum plant density. Nutrient management is something agriculture needs to become more efficient in, with trials taking place with targeted seed treatments, to place small but essential levels of nutrients directly with the seed for maximum efficiency. This is combined with new varieties of grass and clover, which are developed at Germinal Horizon Aberystwyth with a lower requirement for nitrogen and phosphate now being trialled.
Germinal Horizon Wiltshire is also looking at crop rotation methods and timing of establishment. For example, drilling new novel species of winter active Triticale (T100) directly into maize stubble alongside controls such as Italian Ryegrass. Where we are looking for multiple benefits, these include soils stabilisation, lower nutrient run off and a harvestable silage yield in early spring.
Germinal Horizon Wiltshire is comprehensively equipped, staffed by Jo Matthews, formerly head of forage trials for the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB). The facility 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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