The first North-East of England SUPER-G farm network co-innovation workshop took place on 26th February 2019 at Bainbridge Farms, Morpeth in Northumberland. The workshop was well attended with a total of 21 farmers and advisors attending.
The main objectives of the meeting were to:
- Introduce the SUPER-G project
- Discuss the main local issues for permanent grassland (PG) management
- Discuss the potential to investigate the use of new PG management options or emerging technologies by experimentation and demonstration.
The workshop sessions were run by Paul Newell Price and John Williams from ADAS and workshop facilitators Alice Midmer and Jennifer Clark from Linking the Environment and Farming. The farm walk was led by the host farmer Simon Bainbridge.
The main local challenges for PG described by delegates were:
- Maintaining soil quality
- Limits to grass production potential due to stony soils, sloping land, sward composition or compaction
- Improving grazing management
- Weed control
- Improving the utilization and nutritional quality of grass
- Drainage in some fields
The main issues that delegates were interested in investigating were:
- Increasing grass utilization and quality
- The relationship between productivity and biodiversity
- Linking PG to quality products
- Managing PG to reduce flooding risk
- Investigate the impact of sward mixes on grazing management and consequences for productivity and soil hydrology
There was interest in carrying out experiments and demonstrations regarding:
- The use of diverse swards to improve the efficiency of production, particularly for finishing lambs, and increase water infiltration.
- Comparing mechanical loosening with increasing plant species diversity (through overseeding) in swards in terms of their ability to increase productivity, improve biodiversity and reduce flooding risk.
See below some photographs from this day.