Sainfoin is a plant that’s been grown by farmers for centuries to feed livestock, but its use has declined in recent decades. Research led by Professor Irene Mueller-Harvey and others has investigated the plant’s bioactive components – tannins. And it’s sparking a revival in its use. Reading’s Dr Sokratis Stergiadis tells us about a recent open day to explain the benefits of growing Sainfoin to farmers.
Sainfoin is a drought-resistant forage crop that fixes nitrogen and helps prevent parasitic worm infections in cattle. It also improves meat quality, helps to reduce methane production in cattle and encourages pollinating insects.
To encourage more farmers to grow Sainfoin and to share the science behind its beneficial effects, researchers from the University of Reading teamed up with staff from Cotswolds Seeds Ltd, Sainfoin’s main supplier in the UK, to host an Experience Day for 50 farmers at Honeydale Farm in Gloucestershire.
Bees and other insects are crucially important, helping pollinate crops and support our wild ecosystems. The University of Reading is at the forefront of research into the decline of insect pollinators and understanding how valuable they are for crop production.
The lecture will outline current evidence on the status of pollinating insects in the UK and across the globe. The crucial role pollinators play for crop production will be explored as well as ways we can help protect these iconic species for the important role they have providing vital ecosystem services.
Dr Mike Garratt, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture Policy and Development, will present the latest research on pollinators and what we can do to help protect them.
Reading’s research on bees and pollinators is among the highest profile in the world – Picture (c) Dara Stanley
Ecology, climate and food science have helped to put the University of Reading in a group of the world’s elite research institutions in a new analysis of the most cited scientific papers.
The Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers table lists more than 3,300 most cited scientists in the world – those who have published a high number of papers ranking in the top 1% most-cited in their respective fields over the last 11 years.