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    Welcome to the Future Farm

    at Harper Adams University



    Not many universities have their own farm on campus. But here at Harper Adams University, staff and students are able to learn out in the field at the Future Farm.
    Please register your visit here, to help us keep you and our livestock safe - Visiting the Farm and Biosecurity

    Our purpose is to

    • Support teaching
    • Support research
    • Increase knowledge transfer
    • Widen participation in the industry
    • Acheive net-zero by 2030

    Our strategic aims look for us to be                                    

    • Ecologically sound
    • Economically viable
    • Socially responsible

    Farm Statistics

    We farm both animals and land which is known as a mixed enterprise in the agricultural world.

    This allows us to grow feed for our animals and recycle their waste to hrow the crops.

    Our farm is home to:

    Number of cattle 733
    Number of pigs 2709
    Number of chickens 0 (registered to house up to 2500)
    Number of sheep 964
    Number of horses 10
    Hectares of land 445.09

    *Data valid in 2023 as part of the NVZ summary

    Our Research - The Dairy Unit

    Whilst we operate a number of commercial enterprises on site, we are also actively involved in research, trials and teaching.

    The dairy unit provides accommodation for 400 cows. Cows are milked in a 40-point GEA internal rotary parlour with computerised cow identification that records data such as milk yields and monitors cow activity for oestrus detection. One rotation of the 40-point parlour takes eight to twelve minutes and the target annual yield for the unit is 10,000l/cow, milked twice per day.

    The unit also includes a research facility with the capacity of 40 individually fed cows. The facility allows the university to conduct research in:

    • Dietary effect on cow health and performance
    • Grazing behaviour of dairy cows
    • Methods to reduce lameness in cows
    • Methods to reduce methane output from cows

    Our Research - The Beef Unit

    As of July 2022, the beef unit has been fully stocked with cattle bred from the dairy unit. By supplying the beef unit with home-produced cattle we reduce the risk of buying in diseases and improve our biosecurity policy and with careful planning we can breed cattle to suit a study, such as Angus x calves for a grazing trial or Limousine x calves for a high protein finishing diet trial.

    The calves join the beef unit once they have been weaned from the youngstock unit and are placed into pens which can comfortably accommodate up to 6 animals through to finishing weights. 

    The facility allows the university to conduct research in:

    • ASPA beef research studies carried out under the Home Office procedures
    • Feed comparisons against growth weights

    Our Research - The Pig Unit

    The Harper Adams University Pig Unit is a 230-sow farrow-finish, indoor unit running with a 3-week batch operation.

    The focus of the unit is balanced between high-performance commercial production (top 10% nationally), demonstrating best-practice and teaching pig production, and supporting apploed research. The aim is to attract people to, and educate them, about the pig industry.

    The facilities main research areas include:

    • Sireline performance evaluation
    • Pre-weaning usage of supplementary milk and creep
    • Effect of nutrition on a range of pig performance indicators
    • Behaviour studies assessing environmental enrichments for weaners and finishing pigs
    • Slurry additives to reduce ammonia production

    Our Research - The Crops and Operations Unit

    With over 340 ha of land here at Harper Adams University, the Crops and Operations sector is a busy one.

    The Crops and Ops team focus on:

    • Crop production to support our animal enterprises
    • Animal by-product management
    • General day-to-day running of the non-animal based farm jobs.

    With this in mind, the Crops and Ops sector looks to provide relevant commercial cropping examples for student teaching, whilst also branching out in to ideas that have not been adopted by commercial farmers yet.

    Our Research - The Crop and Environmental Trials Unit

    We provide the facilities and expertise that fuels the research carried out by academic staff in the crop and environment disciplines. Research carried out by staff here includes:

    • Sustainable production of food and non-food crops
    • Crop protection (including forecasting, diagnostics, biocontrol, novel forms of control and the implications for food and environmental safety)
    • Post-harvest quality
    • Efficient use of water by plants
    • The impact of production systems on biodiversity

    We also provide many of the crop demonstrations that underpin our degree programmes and continuing professional development training.

    Along with access to the university’s farm, biotechnology laboratories, engineering workshops and national network of trial sites, our facilities and equipment include:

    • a purpose-built research building
    • walk-in cold storage
    • glasshouses
    • drying ovens
    • polytunnels
    • a range of trials-specific equipment and machinery


    Due to our unique ability to draw on both academic and technical knowledge is a range of areas, we are able to grow almost any crop. We also hold an ORETO licence from the Chemical Regulatory Directorate allowing  test chemicals to be trialled.

    Walking route map

    1. Main Dairy (inc. access to the parlour viewing gallery) 

    2. Youngstock

    3. Smart Dairy

    4. Beef

    5. Pigs (viewing windows from Ancellor Drive)

    6. Silage Clamps

    7. Calf Unit

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