Ceredigion MP commends pioneering work at Pwllpeiran


Earlier this month Ben Lake MP travelled to the heart of the Cambrian Mountains to meet with the team of researchers at Pwllpeiran Upland Research Platform.

Pwllpeiran, part of IBERS at Aberystwyth Univeristy is the only publicly owned upland research farm in Wales and for the best part of a century it has played an important role in the development of agriculture in Wales.

80% of utilised agricultural land in Wales is classifed as ‘Less Favoured Area’, and as such a combination of altitude, soil characteristics and climatic conditions restricts most farms within these areas to extensive sheep and cattle production. Over the years, Pwllpeiran’s main aim has been to significantly improve the viability of farming in the uplands to ensure continued agricultural productivity in disadvantaged areas whilst also stemming rural depopulation. 

Ben Lake MP said:

“It has been fascinating to learn more about the pioneering research being carried out in Pwllpeiran, and it particularly interesting to learn how several departments have collaborated on projects, such as the partnership with the Computer Science department in the development of auto piloted drones to record livestock movement in upland areas.”

Mr Lake was given a tour of different sets of experimental plots at the centre by Dr. Mariecia Fraser, John Davies and PhD student, Ben Roberts, including the innovative research involving the planting of 21 tonnes of daffodil bulbs.

Daffodils produce a chemical called galanthamine, a compound used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Daffodils are the only economically feasible plant source suitable for cultivation in the UK, and preliminary studies suggested that the environmental challenges associated with upland areas could trigger a higher yield of galanthamine in daffodils.  Working alongside Harper Adams Univeristy, Pwllpeiran hopes that this project’s findings will increase the economic sustainability of hill farming by providing farmers with a high value crop while maintaining traditional farming systems in the upland areas.

Dr Fraser said:

“We were very pleased to have the opportunity to welcome Ben Lake to Pwllpeiran. Collaboration and co-operation will be essential if we are to secure a future for our uplands that safeguards the vital public goods and service they deliver and retains rural communities in marginal areas.”

Mr Lake said:

“I was delighted to see such cutting-edge research being carried out in Ceredigion. In light of the economic uncertainties that lie ahead, it is not only important that such research is conducted, but also that we are able to apply the findings so as to realise practical benefits for the industry - this is precisely why Pwllpeiran is indispensable.”

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