NATIONAL CAPABILITIES

THE NORTH WYKE FARM PLATFORM

The North Wyke Farm Platform is a unique national and global research facility that is linked to real-world farming

ABOUT THE FARM PLATFORM

The world needs innovative solutions for the sustainable intensification of its major agricultural systems. The North Wyke Farm Platform represents a large investment by BBSRC in the future, to not only study but also to improve grassland livestock systems. The facility is a worldwide unique national and global research facility that is linked to real-world farming. We also participate in the  Global Farm Platform network.   

It attracts researchers from different communities and disciplines who are seeking to develop sustainable ruminant production systems, with an emphasis on beef cattle and sheep production.  

The facility provides access to a range of in situ state-of-the-art instrumentation in hydrologically isolated catchments to better address key issues in sustainable agriculture:

  • Replacement of nitrogen fertiliser with N-fixation by legumes– to reduce energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases
  • Using plants to manage soils and hydrology in green-engineering solutions to flooding
  • Efficient phosphorus cycling in grassland systems
  • Resilience of soil biota and their functions as land use changes
  • Impact of grassland management on carbon cycling, storage and sequestration
  • Improving the efficient use of water resources
  • Improving all aspects of animal health and performance
  • Systems modelling to design optimal grassland production systems.

RESOURCE LINKS TOOLS AND DOWNLOADS

ABOUT THE FARM PLATFORM - GATHERING DATA

The Farm Platform provides three farming systems in farmlets, each consisting of five component catchments over about 21 ha. The catchments comprise single or multiple fields. We manage each farmlet using alternative approaches to livestock production from grassland, and record measurements of water, air and soil. Much of this data has a fine (15 min) temporal resolution, such as water flow and water chemistry, and is measured at a flume for each of the 15 catchments

Gathering data

ABOUT THE FARM PLATFORM - THE FARMING SYSTEMS

The three management systems on the platform are:

  • Permanent pasture: improvement through use of inorganic fertilisers.
  • Increased use of legumes: replacing nitrogen fertilisers with biological fixation using sown legume and grass mixtures.
  • Planned reseeding: regular renewal, providing opportunities for introducing innovative varieties with desirable traits. Currently, high sugar grasses and deep rooting grasses are studied.
The farming systems