Northern Ireland hosts EU delegates for major grassland project

Farming representatives from 11 European countries were hosted in Belfast for a seminar showcasing Northern Ireland’s grassland management techniques.

The event was facilitated by farmer-funded research body AgriSearch and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

It forms the very first stakeholder seminar in the Europe-wide Research Project into Developing SUstainable PERmanent Grassland systems and policies – dubbed ‘SUPER-G’ for short.

A total of 52 delegates from across the Atlantic Region attended including farmers and representatives of farmers’ associations, unions, national authorities, non-governmental organisations, policy-makers, research institutes, small businesses, and universities.

The event aimed to gather opinions and reflect on the diverse types of permanent grassland management across Europe, as well as what influence the project could have in each biogeographic region and country.

SUPER-G

SUPER-G is a five-year project funded under Horizon 2020. The €10 million project began in June.

The consortium is made up of 20 project partners, 20 farm networks and around 17 experimental platforms and field experiments across five biogeographical regions in Europe.

The project will benchmark and synthesise data on permanent grassland performance by means of evidence reviews, field experimentation, expert elicitation and modelling.

Aims of the SUPER-G project include:

  • Better understanding of the importance and functioning of permanent grasslands;
  • Increased availability and uptake of grassland management options and technologies;
  • Improved competitiveness of farming systems based on or including permanent grassland;
  • Development of agricultural and environmental policies that support optimal management of permanent grasslands.

Jason Rankin, general manager of AgriSearch said: “The SUPER-G project will have an important role in the next five years to assist farmers in improving their permanent grassland management and in co-designing policies that can support its productivity and sustainability.

“We will ensure we continue to engage with our farming community here as the project progresses.”