Farming News - Industry partners believe grassland is fundamental to achieving net zero

Industry partners believe grassland is fundamental to achieving net zero

04 Aug 2021
Frontdesk / Arable / Livestock

Net Zero Farming

Grass and forage seed specialist, Germinal, and Aberystwyth University have brought together an industry-leading group of stakeholders putting grassland innovation at the heart of the UK’s net zero ambitions.

The Net Zero from Productive Grasslands Partnership (NZPGP) is a collaboration of organisations from across the UK agricultural grassland supply chain. Partners currently include Dalehead Foods, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Mole Valley Farmers, LEAF, NFU/NFU Cymru, CIEL, KTN and Hybu Cig Cymru.

Grassland is the UK’s biggest crop, totalling around 12.5m hectares. With 2bn tonnes of carbon believed to be sequestered in our grassland soils, it’s the UK’s biggest carbon sink and holds more carbon per hectare than forestry.

It is therefore central to food and energy security, with its sustainable use and management a fundamental part of achieving net zero.

The group aims to develop integrated agri-food and bio-fuel systems and solutions for the future. Soil and grassland management, livestock nutrient use efficiency and emissions and biomass production, embracing the circular economy concept, are all on the new partnership’s agenda.

Commenting on the new collaboration, Paul Billings, Germinal GB’s Managing Director, said: “Climate change is demanding transformation. The industry must continue to adapt and innovate to make grassland more productive. Climate-smart forage can reduce inputs and emissions and we are making significant progress in this area.

“But innovation alone isn’t enough; the link with uptake is a critical part of making a difference. This is the reason we set up this partnership; its strength is the involvement of players from throughout the supply chain.”

Reader of Sustainable Grassland Systems & Agri-Foods at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences, Dr Christina Marley, added: “Being able to work with others throughout the supply chain will help us achieve relevant and tangible outcomes, making this new partnership a particularly exciting opportunity for us all.”

It is clear to partnership members farmers want support in finding pasture-based solutions and consistent messages about what is needed and how it can drive productivity. But with innovation uptake low among farmers, the group knows it needs to address the gap between research and what’s happening on farm.

“There is a real appetite for change among farmers. We need to capitalise on this and help them meet the demand to produce food efficiently while protecting and enhancing the environment,” concludes Mr Billings.