The Importance of Sustained Grassland and Environmental Research: A Case Study From North Wyke Research Station, UK, 1982-2017

Martin S.A. Blackwell*, Steve C. Jarvis, Roger J. Wilkins, Deborah A. Beaumont, Laura M. Cardenas, David R. Chadwick, Adrian L. Collins, Jennifer A.J. Dungait, Malcolm J. Gibb, Alan Hopkins, Tom H. Misselbrook, Philip J. Murray, Jerry R.B. Tallowin, Michael Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

1 Citation (Scopus)
351 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter reviews contributions made to agricultural and environmental science and practice from research on temperate grassland carried out from 1982 to present at Rothamsted Research's North Wyke Research Station, Devon, UK. It describes the evolution of the research program and demonstrates the importance of sustained, interdisciplinary, and collaborative research. North Wyke has maintained a clear research focus, alongside an ability to adapt to changing grassland and environmental research needs and funding sources, and despite having changed affiliations on several occasions. The substantial contribution to agricultural and environmental science arising from the research station has influenced and continues to influence farm practice, research, and policy nationally and internationally. Some key topics have included nutrient cycling, farm waste management, gaseous emissions, biodiversity, grazing management, animal production (meat and milk), and forage quality. Currently, North Wyke Research Station is leading the way on taking increasingly holistic approaches to researching more efficient, sustainable approaches to grazing-livestock agricultural production. This involves the use of world-leading, facilities such as the North Wyke Farm Platform, comprising three farmlets, designed to test the productivity and environmental sustainability of contrasting temperate grassland beef and sheep systems. Future perspectives highlight key challenges facing the agricultural industry including climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the growing world population. Opportunities exist to tackle these challenges through technological advances, but also through increased integration of agricultural, environmental, economic and social research. North Wyke Research Station provides an example of a research facility where such challenges can be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Agronomy
EditorsDonald L Sparks
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages75
ISBN (Print)9780128151778
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Agronomy
ISSN (Print)0065-2113


  • Agronomy
  • Biodiversity
  • Environmental research
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Legumes
  • Livestock production
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Ruminant grazing behavior
  • Soil organic matter
  • Sustainable intensification


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