Grass and forage plant breeder Germinal is to fund a research team at Aberystwyth University in a public/private venture that aims to help enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability against a background of climate change.

Germinal and Aberystwyth University have collaborated for the last 35 years – their new long-term research partnership aims to promote sustainable farming.
Germinal will employ and direct a core team of forage and grassland researchers at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) based at the University. This Net Zero from Productive Grassland group will encourage academic institutions, farmers, advisers and government collaborate over a greener, more resilient ruminant livestock agriculture.

The work will include building on the award-winning Aber High Sugar Grass varieties that help reduce emissions from livestock farms; new developments in the lipid content of grasses; work on nutrient use efficiency; and exploring the use of novel protein forage crops. All could contribute to achieving net zero emissions from productive ruminant livestock systems.

“We are delighted to confirm this new, strengthened relationship with Germinal,” says director of IBERS Professor Iain Donnison. “Our new partnership builds on a proven track record of collaboration, delivering even greater integration. It combines the resources and expertise here in Aberystwyth with the knowledge and commercial market access of Germinal, allowing us to accelerate research that will help meet the government target of net zero from 2050, whilst retaining a thriving food and farming industry.”

For Germinal, group managing director William Gilbert adds: “We know that livestock farmers are at the forefront of meeting the challenge of providing plentiful, high quality food whilst playing their part in addressing the climate crisis. We recognise the urgency of the threat of climate change, and the pressure this brings on dairy, beef and sheep producers. Germinal is committed to leading the way, developing forage varieties and leveraging knowledge to help these farmers be more productive and profitable.

“Through this new partnership, Germinal’s vision to embed researchers within agricultural business to help facilitate innovation is being fulfilled. This development acts as an exemplar for public-private co-operation and will help us deliver cutting-edge innovation that will directly benefit both individual farmers and wider society.”