6 December 1996

Seven grass sites proposed by MAFF

MAFF is to establish seven grassland demonstration sites across England and Wales to evaluate MAFF-funded research at a commercial level.

The seven sites will be based at college farms or research institutes and sponsored by the MLC, Milk Development Council and British Seed Houses with 40% of funds provided by MAFF. An individual commercial sponsor is also being sought for each site.

The first three sites – at the Royal Agricultural College, Glos, Newton Rigg, Cumbria, and Golden Grove, Dyfed, – will begin operating under management committees next year. The committees comprise MAFF researchers, British Grassland Society members, local farmers, and representatives from British Seed Houses and the college farm manager. The committee will decide on inputs for the enterprise which will then be managed as part of the farm.

The remaining sites at Reaseheath, Cheshire; Bronydd Mawr, Powys; North Wyke, Devon and Duchy College, Corn- wall, will begin operating in 1998.

MAFF livestock adviser Jean Pierre Garnier explains the colleges and research institutes were chosen to provide a spread of farm types.

"They are also capable of handling large numbers of visitors which will be attracted from inside and outside the industry for discussion groups, farm walks and conferences," says Mr Garnier.

Enterprises covered include upland and lowland beef and sheep, extended grazing and high and medium input dairy units. "Aim is to achieve high profit targets from high digestibility forage, maximising grazing use and using optimal genotypes," he says.