Funding amount:
EAFRD (WG RC_RDP Wales) contribution

Intensification of farming practice has resulted in the decline of species-rich, permanent pasture into fields of one or two grass species. Species-rich grasslands were once common across the UK and supported pastoral agriculture, healthy functioning soil, and diverse flora and fauna.

This spring, three upland farms in the South Wales Valleys will be reseeding 4-5 ha of marginal upland with a multi species ley alongside a conventional ryegrass/white clover ley to compare outputs from the two systems as part of a 3 year EIP Wales project.

Project Design:

  • Fields will be sprayed with glyphosate to destroy the existing grass before being cultivated.
  • 50% of the fields will be sown with a multi species lay containing 5 grass species, 3 legumes and 3 herb species, and 50% will be sown with ryegrass and white clover mix at 14kg/acre.
  • An assessment in year 1 will be made on how well the seeds establish and how they outcompete the undesirable weed grasses and broadleaved weeds.
  • In year 2 and 3 the project will monitor forage production and quality, stock performance and invertebrate populations in the new leys.

Welsh landscapes vary significantly in soil quality and fertility, therefore understanding the effectiveness of different sward compositions will allow a more efficient, targeted approach to sowing grass on marginal land.

If increased floral diversity can also reduce lamb finishing times and/or improve animal health, a true multi-species grassland could offer the potential to manage marginal land in Wales for both production and general biodiversity.

Report, Videos and Articles:

Poster (February 2020): Summary of the 2018 and 2019 results

Interim Report (January 2019): Alternative Forages

Video (September 2018): Chris Duller - Alternative forages project establishmen…

Technical Publication (March/April 2018): Alternative forage systems for margin…

EIP Wales, which is delivered by Menter a Busnes, has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

European Innovation Partnership (EIP) is part of the Co-operation and Supply Chain Development Scheme (CSCDS) delivering under Measure 16 (Article 35 of Regulation (EU) 1305/2013). The CSCDS is an important element of the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. The EIP delivers under sub Measure 16.1 of the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014- 2020. 

Further project information:

Will John
Email project contact