New Research Initiative To Play Part In Sustainable Agriculture

A new research initiative funded as part of the European Social Fund’s KESS 2 programme at Bangor University and backed by Hybu Cig Cymru will provide opportunities for Universities and the industry to support collaborative research projects towards sustainable farming practices.

Applications are open - the funding will be available to three fully-funded PhD scholarships.  Those successful will be supported by Dr. Prysor Williams, Bangor University, and will research into:

  • Meeting environmental targets while maintaining profitability for the beef and sheep sectors of Wales
  • Strategies for meeting targets for ammonia emissions and nitrate leaching reduction for Wales beef and sheep farms
  • Strategies to reach zero carbon sheep and beef production on Welsh farms

There is also funding available for a PhD studentship for ‘Determining the potential for precision grazing to improve the resilience of livestock production systems.’  Applications are open until 12 noon on 20 January 2020.

The principle of sustainable agriculture has become increasingly important since the proposals made by Welsh Government in the Brexit and Our Land consultation in 2018.  To that, and this year’s Sustainable Farming and Our Land follow-up, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has outlined numerous concerns over the impracticality and overoptimism of introducing such a sustainable farming scheme alongside removing Single Farm Payments - when considering that 80% of farm income in Wales currently comes from direct payments.

Despite this, initiatives such as the above that play a part in finding the balance between sustainable farming practices and maintaining a profitable farm business will be essential if such a scheme is introduced in Wales.  The Welsh Government must however realise that moving towards a more sustainable agricultural industry and working towards zero emissions will take decades.