Harper Adams University

Harper Adams University is one of the UK’s leading universities for the agri-food chain and rural sectors.

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Primary Contact: Matthew Rodenhurst (Associated Head of Agriculture and environment department)

[email protected] | 01952 815191 / 07779 091080

The Shropshire-based campus includes a 273 ha commercial farm with dairy, beef, poultry, pig, sheep and arable enterprises along with areas of woodland and conservation. The university also has a tenanted farm of 294 ha of grass and arable. Soil types vary from a light sandy loam to heavy clay loam. A rotation aimed at maximising first wheat is practised, made possible by the range of break crops on the farm – grass, maize, lucerne, oilseeds and stewardship crops. The University also houses The Saputo Dairy UK Innovation Centre, The Crop and Environment Research Centre, The Soil and Management Centre and Jean Jackson Entomology Building for research and development.

Harper Adams and Precision Decisions ran the first completely autonomous cropping of one hectare in 2016-2017- the HandsFree Hectare which has now been extended to a Hands-Free farm totalling 35 hectares of arable land with the first crops to be harvested Summer 2021. The National Centre for Precision Farming is also based at Harper Adams University.


Harper Adams University provides high quality higher education as well as carrying out high class agricultural research, improving animal welfare, tackling food scarcity, and developing new farming technologies.


Up to 24 hectares of grass and arable areas are devoted to staff and student research projects and trials.

Harper Adams works in partnership with Saputo Dairy at the Saputo Dairy UK Innovation Centre, home to the company’s R&D and technical teams. The dairy unit has a 40-point internal rotary milking parlour and a computerised system for identifying cows and recording milk yields. A robotic dairy will help develop advanced technologies to increase productivity and sustainability in UK agriculture.

Harper is also working with Morrisons to set up the world’s first School of Sustainable Farming to offer farmer training.

Research interests:

Harper University and University farm undertakes a wide range of research projects and trails focusing on:

  • Management of soil and water
  • Better plant health, better crops
  • Farming more precisely
  • Smarter livestock farming
  • Safer and healthier food
  • Bioenergy and renewable resources
  • Engineering our future
  • Rural affairs and management
  • Animal health, behaviour and welfare
  • Managing the agricultural environment