Industry support for UK Agri- Tech Centre – Paul Billings

Paul Billings
Published: April 18, 2024

Paul Billings, MD of Germinal UK and Ireland, is a founder member of CIEL, now part of UK Agri-Tech Centre.  He recognised the benefits early of working closely with stakeholders across the agri-food sector, highlighting the importance of grass-based livestock production, and collaborating to support the adoption of better agricultural practices. This strategy works towards the protection of valuable resources while ensuring the long-term sustainability of food production.

Paul Billings, MD Germinal UK and Ireland said:

“Germinal is a sixth-generation family company with a proud history and heritage. We research, develop and supply innovative climate smart grass and forage crops, directly helping farmers produce more sustainably and profitably for the global food chain.  

Focused R&D drives our vision; we apply our grassland expertise through knowledge sharing to advance a positive and responsible future for agriculture and empower our customers with problem solving products and practical advice.  

Working strategically to address the climate challenges central to food production, we have worked with CIEL on a range of projects, including the successful GrassCheck GB, a grass growth monitoring project involving 50 dairy, beef, and sheep farms.   

Grasslands are arguably the UK’s most important crop, covering over 65% of agricultural land, including 11.2 million ha of temporary and improved permanent pasture. Grazing livestock farms account for a third of all agricultural employment, supporting rural economies. Importantly, the soils on which our grasslands grow are the UK’s largest carbon sink holding 2bn tonnes of carbon as well as providing a biodiverse landscape and habitat for wildlife.  

CIEL has also been our partner in our successful Innovate UK grant applications, including the recently announced large-scale £3.3M DEFRA funded Project NUE-Leg.

Working with a consortium of ten partners and with a total fund of almost £5M, CIEL partnered with us through the application process and will fulfil a vital project management role. Project NUE-Leg is a major on-farm trial and research project that seeks to eliminate the dependence of UK grassland farming on applied nitrogen fertiliser delivering environmental and economic benefits.   

The NUE-Leg project will harness innovations in plant breeding, soil microbiology and grassland management to achieve improvements in the capacities of legumes. These self-reliant red and white clovers, in combination with soil microbes, have the ability to fix nitrogen from the air and then make it available to the surrounding grassland.   

Working alongside CIEL has helped us further spotlight grass as an undervalued crop that has yet to reach its full potential and we will continue to seek new and exciting funding opportunities with UK Agri-Tech Centre that allow us to explore those possibilities. 

UK Agri-Tech Centre plays an extremely important role and will continue to build on that cross pollination of sector success. By coming together, we will all benefit from strengthened relationships, greater security, and even greater collaboration across supply chains.”  

These views are of Paul Billings, not of UK Agri-Tech Centre

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