During June 2019, The Mulloon Institute’s Chairman Gary Nairn AO visited with our international ‘sister’ agricultural research organisation, Rothamsted Research in the UK, the oldest agricultural research centre in the world.
“We had a great catch up with Professor John Crawford from Rothamsted as John also sits on our Science Advisory Council and has always taken an active interest in our work. John was able to bring me up to date with some of the issues he is closely involved with on behalf of Rothamsted. Significantly, he let me know that some of the major corporates that have traditionally been suppliers of chemicals and fertilisers to the agricultural industry are realising that the future will be very different. In particular, they see the future in the value of the provision of data. Information is power in all industries and agriculture is no exception. With technology playing an ever increasing role in agriculture data, particularly around soil biology for example, will guide the development of more regenerative practices.”
“Rothamsted also has a research farm at North Wyke in Devon, so we were privileged to spend a whole day there speaking with their scientists and observing some of their research projects in action. A major project on their research farm is the operation of three mini farms, or farmlets, with different methodologies. One is very traditional, the other two with quite different grazing, seeding and fertilising regimes. One of those is close to what we would refer to as regenerative. It is early days in this project, so it is research that we will follow closely.”
“Another very interesting research project is set up on a number of fields, such that each field is isolated from every other field, with respect to runoff. In that part of the UK, deep top soils overlay a very hard clay base. So with strategic drainage channels, they are capturing and measuring in real time, every single drop of runoff. Each field is treated differently from a farm management and grazing point of view. Once again, early days, but substantial data and knowledge will eventuate.”