An operational research farm is inviting farmers to have their say on where scientists should focus future agricultural research. For the first time ever, northern food resilience research programme N8 AgriFood is opening the gates to three of its university farms in an effort to strengthen links with local farming communities.
Local farmers and agricultural businesses can join the Farm Open Days to find out about research projects that may help increase productivity and efficiencies in their work, as well giving them the opportunity to contribute towards and help shape future projects. The topics included are soil and plant health, agri-tech and robotics, livestock health including diagnostics and breeding, and working with industry.
“As a research programme, we want to create a network of farmers who are interested in working as equal partners in research with us. To help build those relationships, we want to give farmers the chance to look over the hedge and see what goes on at a research farm. By coming along to the open days, guests will be able to see some of the results from trials that have been carried out by N8 on the farms. We would also like to see farmers share their areas of concern with us, and help shape the areas of farming and agriculture that we look at in the future,” said Sally Howlett, one of N8 AgriFood’s knowledge exchange fellows based at the University of York, who is coordinating the events.
Held at the University of Liverpool’s facilities, the first Open Day will take place on Tuesday, May 14. After convening at the University’s Leahurst Campus, the day begins at the 200ac dairy facility Woodpark Farm, before heading over to Ness Heath farm after lunch where the topic shifts to beef and sheep.
On Friday, June 21, the University of Leeds will then host an open day at its Spen Farm facility, with a focus on arable and soil health. Plans for farming systems research will be discussed, as well as soil health and smart agri-systems. The day will conclude with a hog roast and networking.
The overall goal of this evet is that after the open days, researchers at N8 AgriFood will have a list of topic areas identified by farmers where they would like academics to work with them on co-developing research solutions.