A partnership between the science funding group BBSRC and the AHDB will finance up to 10 projects which have been identified by farmers as practical ways in which the industry can improve sustainability, cut greenhouse gas emissions and increase the storage of carbon on farms.
The funding available from the partnership combine monies from producer levies with state support and will be made to researchers at a range of institutes and universities around the country.
The work will focus on six key areas:
1.Improving sustainability of cropping systems
2.Management of organic materials
3.Improving performance of grasslands
4.Livestock breeding and management for improved climate resilience and reduction of GHG emissions
5.Precision farming and management
6.Sustainable management of pests, weeds, and diseases
James Holmes, AHDB’s Environment Senior Scientist, said that the priorities had been identified at a series of meetings with farmers which had been aimed at finding out what sort of research was needed by those at the sharp end:
“For farmers and growers to reduce GHG emissions and store carbon they need easy access to the latest science and practical guidance - to be able to make the best decision for their business. By securing independent research funds such as this, farmers benefit from publicly funded research in addition to that funded by their own levy.”
AHDB’s Head of Environment Dr Jonathan Foot, added:
“AHDB has now led several influential industry groups and time and time again it is clear we need more research in key areas, more knowledge, and more understanding. It is only then we can fully understand what the boundaries are for our industry in its ability to reduce GHG emissions, or its role in carbon storage.
He said it was clear that research was going to be crucial:
“On-farm efficiencies will only take us so far - it will be technological advances and innovation that will take us the final step in achieving net zero, and that requires serious investment.”
Head of Business Engagement & Intelligence at the BBSRC, Dr Ruth Nottingham said:
“BBSRC invests to push back the frontiers of biology and deliver a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future. Farmers and growers in the UK are changing their farming practices. We support the ambitions of the sector for net zero and are pleased to partner with AHDB to fund world-leading research and innovation for farmers and growers.”
*Meanwhile a project using precision technology to tackle calf diseases will be highlighted at a webinar later this month.The £1 million Innovate UK Well-Calf project, which involves partners from Smartbell, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Parklands Veterinary Group and Agri-EPI Centre, will showcase Well-Calf, its solution for improving the health of dairy calves destined for the beef sector on October 26.