BGS Research Conference 2020

BGS Research Conference 2020



Unfortunately, due to the rapidly changing situation with the COVID-19 virus, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the 13th British Grassland Society Research Conference that was due to take place on 26th and 27th March near Reading.  Travel restrictions have already begun to affect a number of our speakers and delegates.

We are now planning for the conference to take place this coming autumn - updated on the details will be provided at a later date.


The 13th BGS Research Conference will focus on the topic of multi-species swards.  With a number of large-scale projects currently underway in the UK and across the EU, this is currently an enormously topical area of research. The conference will provide a venue for presentation and discussion of recent results from UK and EU research on multi-species swards, as well as an opportunity to learn from farmers and advisors with experience of establishing and managing multi-species ‘herbal leys’. 

First Day 
1. The background to multi-species swards 
2. Establishment of multi-species swards
Speakers include Ian Wilkinson and Sam Lane (Cotswold Seeds)
3.  Visit to CEDAR

Second Day
1. Sward management for grazing and conservation
2. Utilisation and feeding value
Speakers include Paul Muto (Natural England), Tommy Boland (UCD), Caroline Brophy (Trinity College, Dublin) and John Finn (Teagasc).

A detailed programme is available here.

Booking will open once a new date has been confirmed.

Full conference delegate fee (including conference dinner and accommodation):  BGS member £255, non-member £315, student £195
Day rates (includes lunch): BGS member £80 per day, non-member £110, student £45
Early booking advised due to limited rooms available at conference rate.

CPD Points are available for attending this conference.


Tommy Boland is Professor of Ruminant Nutrition and Sheep Production in UCD and Adjunct Professor of Sheep Husbandry in Massey University New Zealand. Following completion of his PhD in 2005 he has researched sustainable ruminant production systems in the School of Agriculture and Food Science in UCD. Tommy’s research focuses on enhancing the economic and environmental sustainability of ruminant production systems. He sits on a number of national advisory committees and steering groups and was one of the leading organisers of the Greenhouse Gas and Animal Agriculture conference held in Dublin in 2013. 

Caroline Brophy is an Associate Professor of Statistics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Her research is at the interface of Statistics, Ecology and Agronomy, and she is an expert in the development of novel statistical models for analysing data from multi-species mixtures studies. She is particularly interested in the role of species diversity in intensively managed grasslands in mitigating the effects of extreme weather events such as drought. She is a founder and director of a new global experimental network (LegacyNet) that is investigating the potential benefits of grass, legume and herb mixtures within crop rotations. Caroline was awarded her PhD from University College Dublin in 2009, was a Lecturer of Statistics at Maynooth University from 2008 to 2019, and moved to Trinity College Dublin in 2019

Sam Lane grew up in an agricultural community in Oxfordshire and studied for a degree in agriculture at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, after which he worked for four years on a large arable estate, carrying out many duties including cultivation, spraying and drilling throughout the season. He joined Cotswold Seeds six years ago, and as well as providing farmers with advice on complex grass seed mixtures, and visiting farms all over the UK, Sam regularly represents Cotswold Seeds at agricultural shows including Grassland & Muck, Oxford Real Farming Conference and Groundswell. He is often invited to give talks and presentations to farming groups, on everything from choosing the right grass seed mixtures for their farm, to establishment and management of the various mixtures. Sam has been actively involved in FarmED right from the start, including helping to plan and manage the crop rotation at the heart of the farm.

Paul Muto works as a Senior Specialist in grassland agronomy for Natural England.  His recent work has focussed on monitoring the “Legume and herb-rich ley” agri-environment option and investigating biodiverse leys with the Institute of Grassland Science at the University of Göttingen.  A strong advocate of agro-ecological approaches to sustainable agriculture, Paul has been involved in organic agriculture, grazing systems management and agroforestry.  

Ian Wilkinson studied farm and grassland management at Berkshire College of Agriculture and joined Cotswold Seeds 34 years ago, since when he’s developed the business with a fundamental focus on the role of providing an information bridge between farmers and the scientific community. A family business based in Moreton-in-Marsh, Cotswold Seeds has built its reputation on developing forage, herbal leys, green manures and complex seed mixtures as well as providing a personal service to its customers, which now number 15,000 farmers and landowners across the UK. It has always been part of Ian’s vision for the business to have a farm and six years ago, Cotswold Seeds acquired Honeydale Farm, 107 acres in the Cotswolds. It is being developed as FarmED, an exciting new centre for farm and food education, with a mission to accelerate the transition towards regenerative farming and sustainable food systems by providing space and opportunity for inspirational education, innovative research, practitioner led knowledge exchange events and personal development.







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