North Wyke Farm Research Platform goes LIVE

24th May 2012 seen the official launch of the globally unique farm research platform at Rothamsted Research North Wyke in Devon. RS Hydro were responsible for installing 15 high-specification water quality monitoring stations and telemetry system for the project. The research platform aims to help agricultural businesses and farms provide sustainable and productive farming techniques at the same time as quantifying the impact of farming techniques within the environment.

The farm consists of three beef and sheep farmlets, each of which will be managed differently so that international scientists can understand how to optimise production and environmental impacts. Commenting on the Farm Platform, Dr Phil Murray states "We're really excited about what the Farm Platform will be able to offer the agricultural community." Dr Murray further adds that "the platform will enable us to control and study the entire farm system in unprecedented detail, providing scientists with the opportunity to scale up their experiments to see whether a treatment that was successful in the field works at the farm scale. This will mean that the research community will be able to offer advice to farmers based on research that has been road-tested in a real farm environment."

Unlike the DEFRA Demonstration Test Catchments project, which was started in 2010, the North Wyke farm platform not only looks to measure the outputs and effects but also allows researchers to control the inputs. Furthermore the project is based on 15 separate hydrologically locked fields, all with identical monitoring stations.

This highly controlled and scientific approach allows researchers to employ new and existing measures within farming practices to reduce the impact of agriculturally-derived diffuse pollution on the environment.

The major benefit of the resources offered by North Wyke is that it will become a 'Research Hotel' for agri-environmental organisations gathered from different communities and disciplines. North Wyke will therefore act as a focus for research using the latest high-tech in-situ water quality and flow monitoring instrumentation in a controlled environment.

For more information on this project please click here