Demonstrator Hub Update – Newcastle University Cockle Park Farm – February 2024

15 March 2024

Cockle Park Farm Site plan

Cockle Park Farm Site plan

February 2024 – Cockle Park Farm Demonstrator Hub Update

The winter at Cockle Park Farm has been a very wet one with the occasional cold snap and frosts. Most things seem to be coping well with these frosts. General maintenance has been the order of the day during the dormant period with regular checks of the fencing and updates to the electric fence batteries. No spraying has been carried out and the ground has been too wet throughout for any machinery. The headlands have been sown with a grass/clover mix.

There have been no pest and disease issues but hares have been seen on the plots despite the fence being in place and they have caused some minor damage here and there.

Crop Diaries

Click on the titles below to find out how each of the crops are progressing.


The Alder plot has remained wet over the winter. The plants are dormant but some had buds as early as January. New plants were received on 19th January for gapping up but these have yet to be planted as it has been too wet. There have been no pest or disease issues and no herbicide application.

Black Locust

The SRF Black Locust ‘Turbo’ plants are dormant. Some hare damage has been observed.


The SRF Eucalyptus plants have remained green throughout the winter. There have been no pests or diseases observed and there is a low level of weeds in the plots at Cockle Park Farm. There has been no herbicide application.


The SRF Poplar plot has been very wet, but some buds were seen on the plants in January. Some of these early leaves are turning yellow but no pest, disease or hare grazing issues have been seen. There has been no herbicide application at Cockle Park Farm.

The SRC Poplar is also dormant but alive. Pests and diseases haven’t been an issue and there is a low level of weeds in the plot.


Both the Miscanthus Giganteus and Miscanthus Athena are fully senesced. The ground conditions have been very wet and weeds need to be controlled on the plots once it dries out.


The 0.5 ha SRC Willows have started to produce buds, there has ben some hare damage and weed levels remain low.

Plans and Actions

  • The ground is too wet for any machinery at present.
  • Once it dries out spraying will take place where necessary
  • Gapping up of the Alder will be carried out once conditions allow.
  • The Miscanthus Athena will be re-planted once the ground dries.
  • The grass demo plots will be sprayed once the conditions allow.

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