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SRUC projects receive innovation funding

Published Tuesday, 7th January 2020 in Research news

The cow with calf project is receiving £60,000 in KTIF funding
The cow with calf project is receiving £60,000 in KTIF funding

A project which aims to keep calves with their mothers for longer is among three SRUC-led projects to share more than £143,000 from the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF).

At Rainton Farm in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, dairy cows and their calves are kept together for five months (cow with calf system), while standard modern dairy farm practice involves separating the cow and calf within 24 hours of birth.

Led by Dr Marie Haskell, the project aims to use the ‘ethical dairy’ as a model to characterise the cow with calf system and on-farm rearing. Its purpose is to improve environmental and social aspects of farming. 

A £53,000 grant to the Grass Roots project, meanwhile, aims to better inform and drive innovation in the variety and seed mixes sector. The project expects to target 2,000 farmers and link them in a virtual group so that peer-to-peer experiences can be shared, and data on preferences and performance gathered.

A third project, led by Dr Robin Walker, has been awarded nearly £30,000 to explore the possibility of growing organic oilseed rape (Canola) in Scotland for the first time.

The SRUC projects are among a total of six to share more than £340,000 in the latest round of KTIF investment.

Announcing the funding, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “As we face a global climate emergency, investing and supporting innovative research within our agricultural sector has never been more important. Farming is sometimes singled out as a climate offender, often by those who do not fully understand or appreciate its importance to our rural communities, or the work our farmers do to protect our environment.

“With this latest funding the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund has now invested around £5.7 million in projects that will help us continue to grow a sustainable, vibrant and innovative rural economy.”

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