Rothamsted Research North Wyke, located near Okehampton in Devon, is a 250ha grassland research centre that is part of a network of LEAF Innovation Centres whose work supports the research, evidence, development and promotion of Integrated Farm Management.
Rothamsted Research North Wyke was formerly part of the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research but in 2008 North Wyke was integrated with Rothamsted Research, extending their research to cover grassland livestock systems as well as arable. The research being undertaken at North Wyke is helping to address some of agriculture’s most pressing challenges, for example mitigating and adapting to climate change, protecting natural resources and sustaining the pasture based livestock systems that are dominant in regions such as South West England in the face of increasingly intensive systems elsewhere. Through this research North Wyke is making a significant contribution to the development of Integrated Farm Management and is working to communicate these findings to farmers and industry, hence their role as a LEAF Innovation Centre.
North Wyke contains a BBSRC National Capability Farm Platform comprising of three independent 25-hectare farmlets which can test, at a whole farm scale, the impact of different pasture based livestock systems on water, soil, livestock production, biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions using a range on in-situ monitoring equipment. Modellers can then extrapolate findings from the lab and field scale up to landscape and regional scales to start to get a more accurate picture of the true impacts of different livestock production systems. The results of this research will help to identify the most sustainable means of rearing beef and sheep and inform best practice which can be communicated to the wider farming industry.