Nafferton SIP Projects

NEFG is contributing to the SIP 1 study through two on-farm research projects: one arable and one dairy-based.

The Arable Component

The arable study at Nafferton aims to evaluate organic and conventional fertilisers and their impact on the health, productivity and quality of spelt and rye. This project overlaps with the EU Project HealthyMinorCereals and ran for two growing seasons (Year 1: 2014-2015; Year 2: 2015-2016). The experimental design includes:

  • Four varieties of spelt; four varieties of rye
  • Five fertility types: (Mineral N, Biogas Digestate, Cattle Slurry, Composted FYM, Green Waste Compost)
  • Two fertility rates (low: 50kgN/ha; high: 100kgN/ha) plus control (0kgN/ha)

Assessments include:

  • Crop health: Disease severity and SPAD measurements (taken every 2 weeks)
  • Crop yield: Plant height, crop yield and 1000 seed weight
  • Grain quality: Hagberg Falling Number, protein content and specific weight

The Year 1 trail was sown 1st October 2014 and harvested the first week of September 2015. The Year 2 trial was sown 5th October 2015 and harvested September 2016. In autumn 2016, the spelt and rye trials expanded to organic and conventional cereal farms in Northeast England.

The Dairy Component

The dairy study at Nafferton aims to analyse trace element and antioxidant content of milk from cows under organic compared to conventional management. The project utilises the on-going split-herd system in place at Nafferton to consider the scope for UK grown feeds to improve milk yields and quality under conventional and organic winter diets.

In a previous winter feeding trial, cows in both dairy herds (organic and non-organic) were fed full fat rape (2kg/cow/day) and standard control diets. Samples from this trial were analysed for trace elements and antioxidant content. Relative results are shown below.