Tractors and other farming equipment is getting ever bigger, heavier and more expensive. This trend is driving collaboration and even amalgamation of farms. It is arguably not driving greater efficiency.
Can small robots help? This article, published in The Times and sponsored by Dropbox, promotes the work of The Small Robot Company. It’s worth a read to get you thinking about which future you want to invest in!
Also, click on the image to access an article introducing a robotic agricultural centre in Lincolnshire.
This Farmerama podcast includes a feature on food for nutrient density, a new way of measuring the value of food.
The Nutrient Density segment starts at 7.45 and runs for 8.30 minutes.
Recorded at the Oxford Farming Conference 2020 and issued on 23 February 2020.
A thought-piece and interview with Prof Louise Manning (Academic Co-Director of our Rural Business Careers Gateway Course.
In under 30 minutes, study some perspectives on the future of food production and get inspired about how you can apply your existing professional skills to this challenge.
Produced and distributed by TRT World https://www.trtworld.com/
(Video included to inspire and educate. No endorsement implied.)
Drilling Seed Barley
One of a coming series by Foxes Farm, Colchester during Covid-19 lock-down.
Dr John Medley, President of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association makes a persuasive case for a return to a closed-loop livestock raising system in the UK.
The first 15 minutes provides an accessible primer on sooil health and carbon-sequestration; the second half of his talk focusses on the association's history, aims and successes.
This detailed reference document by Natural England provides a rich source of data, secondary source signposts and thematic ideas to underpin a higher understanding of where policy may go as climate change increasingly underpins public policy-making in UK.
Access the full paper or sections of it here.
Analysis by Strutt and Parker Research team on the post BREXIT funding model for farming.
From their website:
This paper models the effect of the proposed changes for seven farm types and for three levels of productivity. An important assumption we have made is that the profits that farmers earn from agri-environment measures are double compared with current levels.
The changes will most affect farms that are highly reliant on Basic Payments - cereals, mixed and lowland livestock farms. Sectors like dairy will be less affected.
The net profits of the middle 50% of farmers will fall significantly, by 47-68% (excluding dairy).
The bottom 25% also suffer significant falls, of 22-63%.
The top 25% performing farmers are much less affected, with profits falling by 6-19%. They are less reliant on Basic Payments and the cut is largely negated by increases in farm productivity and agri-environment payments.
There are several useful publications available from the ACRE website. Specifically, resettling personnel may find the following of most use:
- A Community Guide to Your Water Environment
- Integrated Local Delivery
- B-Lines: A fantastic idea to improve insect mobility and viability: https://www.buglife.org.uk/our-work/b-lines/
Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK - Committee on Climate Change, Jan 2020
Executive Summary (precis'd):
The UK’s net-zero target will not be met without changes in how we use our land. Those changes must start now.
Current policy measures will not deliver the required ambition.
In 2017, emissions from agriculture, land use and peatlands were 58 MtCO2e. With ambitious steps, emissions in these sectors can be reduced by 64% to 21 MtCO2e by 2050.
Our analysis balances the need to reduce land-based emissions with other essential functions of land, including maintaining food production. The actions we identify entail rapid changes in farming practices and consumer behaviour, such that around one-fifth of agricultural land is released by 2050 for actions that reduce emissions and sequester carbon (Figure 1).
Public Finding should be used to:
- encourage non-carbon benefits of afforestation (e.g. alleviating flood risk, recreation).
- plant trees on farms
- incentivise the take-up of low-carbon farming practices (e.g. precision farming)
- restore peatland
- support bioenergy crops in the short term.
A range of enabling actions are required including finance and training (skills and awareness).
Policies are needed to encourage consumers to shift diets and reduce food waste.
The policies we have identified provide a coherent framework that recognises the essential role of farmers as stewards of the land and encourages real change. The transition is complex, reaching across diverse agriculture sectors, actors and geographies. Success must deliver a ‘just transition’, where all farmers and land managers can benefit from the new opportunities.
Above all, these changes are intended to make it 'pay' for farmers to reduce emissions for the first time. Continued delay is not an option. It is critical that this change starts immediately.
Read full report by visiting the website here.
ENVIRONMENTAL LAND MANAGEMENT SYSTEM DESIGN AND THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF GRASS-FED LIVESTOCK IN COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE
Read Jenny Phelps's FWAG blog on future soil management - https://www.fwagsw.org.uk/Blogs/fwagsouthwest/reflections-from-groundswell - and the second part which explains why the new Environmental Land Management System (ELMS) must be based on a public good valuation rather than agricultural set-aside - https://www.fwagsw.org.uk/Blogs/fwagsouthwest/environmental-land-management-design-and-support.
Produced in 2018 by the Pasture for Life Association, this publication Pasture for Life, it can be done – The farm business case for feeding ruminants just on pasture champions feeding sheep and beef cattle entirely on grass and forage crops, as opposed to the heavy reliance on grain whcih is currently common across the UK. While cereal diets may quicken the process of finishing livestock, it does so at an economic and environmental cost, while producing a less healthy product.
Self-coaching for military personnel to start your personal estimate and plan for a successful resettlement.
Available under the Veterans tab or by clicking below.