A new research team which will be embedded at Aberystwyth University, aims to bring together a unique collaboration of science and agriculture to address climate challenges and enhance agricultural productivity.

Germinal and Aberystwyth University have announced a new long-term research partnership to promote sustainable farming. The new partnership, which builds on nearly 35 years of collaboration between the two organisations, will see Germinal employ and direct a core team of forage and grassland researchers at the institute, as well as sponsoring a chair of innovative grassland research.

The team will build on the achievements of the award-winning Aber High Sugar Grasses that reduce emissions from livestock farms. They will also seek new developments in the lipid content of grasses, nutrient use efficiency and exciting novel protein crops to achieve net zero from productive ruminant livestock production.

Along with the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University, Germinal hopes to establish and lead an industry 'net zero from productive grassland group'. This will see leading academic institutions, farmers, advisors and government collaborate to ensure a greener, more resilient future for ruminant livestock agriculture.

William Gilbert, group managing director at Germinal, said: “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.

“As forage seed specialists, we are committed to leading the way, developing forage varieties and leveraging knowledge to help these farmers be more productive and profitable, feeding a growing population whilst achieving the ambitious net zero targets set for the industry.

"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.”

Professor Iain Donnison, director of IBERS, added: “We are delighted to confirm this new, strengthened relationship with Germinal. 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’s target of net zero from 2050, whilst retaining a thriving food and farming industry.”

Germinal and IBERS have already collaborated on research to progress net zero from productive forage. Projects have focused on the following key areas:

* Emissions reduction – Nutrient use efficiency; cutting ammonia and methane from ruminants.

* Home grown protein – Reducing the need for imported protein.

* Persistent grassland to capture carbon – Better rooting; disease and pest resistance; longer lasting productive grasses and forage legumes.

* Productivity – Increasing yield per unit of area and input; raising feed value; increasing production to reduce emissions per calorie unit.