Showing results for: Intensive/confined systems
This journalistic photo and video reportage on the National Geographic website shows some of the most high-tech farming methods in the world, based in the Netherlands.
This Data Science Insights talk hosted by Thomson Reuters sees presentations from Professor Nilay Shah from Imperial College, Judith Batchelar, Director of Brand at UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, and Derek Scuffell, Head of R&D Information Systems at Syngenta, who share insights on how their supply chains are driven by data. They discuss how advances in genetically modified foods and in agricultural technology could help prevent food shortages and price fluctuations and help the world feed itself by 2025.
This report, entitled ‘What’s at Steak? The Real Cost of Meat’ published by the Global Forest Coalition in December 2016, emphasises the negative impact of industrial livestock production on forests, using five detailed case studies, in Bolivia, Brazil, India, Paraguay, and Russia. In South America, for example, the report states that 71% of deforestation in the region has been driven by demand for livestock products.
An academic debate on the controversial possibility of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions via increased beef production in the Brazilian Cerrado finds a new set of commentators, who have responded to an original paper by de Oliveira Silva et al. earlier in 2016 in the same journal, Nature Climate Change.
The iPES food panel (International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems), has published a report reviewing the latest evidence on benefits and challenges with different production models, specifically looking at the industrial agriculture and agroecological farming systems. It argues that there are eight key reasons why industrial agriculture is locked in place despite its negative impacts; and it maps out a series of steps to break these cycles and shift towards expanding agroecological farming.
In their two-part contribution to the Livestock debate on the website of Arc2020 (the agricultural and rural convention), the IPES representatives Olivier de Schutter, Hans Herren and Emile Frison discuss the environmental footprint of livestock, the need for livestock farming to be reintegrated into landscapes and the flaws in the current factory farming model; and they propose ways to address the challenges posed by industrial livestock systems.
These two articles in Foreign Policy discuss the role of power and agency to solve our global water and food problems. In the first article “Don’t Let Food Be the Problem - Producing too much food is what starves the planet” Professor Olivier De Schutter reflects on lessons learnt during his work over the past 6 years as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. He argues that international action cannot solve the food crises without local responses. He writes “These interconnected systems of overproduction won’t feed the world.
Sentience Mosaic hosts live online debates where a variety of topics related to animal sentience are discussed.
The description of the event was as follows: “Livestock production is responsible for a large proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, livestock related gas emissions are expected to increase rapidly in coming years if no action is taken. Some propose that further intensification of animal production, in order to increase yield per animal, is the answer to reducing gas emissions. However, many argue that this is unethical and is not a solution.
This report from Centre for Agricultural Strategy at the university of Reading discusses the use of soya in UK livestock feeds. It describes how UK livestock production has become increasingly intensive over the last 20 years with a declining number of livestock farms rearing fewer, more productive animals, which require more nutrient dense feeds, containing a higher proportion of high quality protein. As UK agriculture has been unable to meet all of the demand from for vegetable protein, imported soya bean meal has largely filled the gap.
This paper critiques the concept of sustainable intensification as follows: “Though often lauded by scientists and policy makers alike as a panacea to the mass environmental degradation that accompanies typical food production processes, the authors find that ‘sustainable intensification’ is actually highly unsustainable as it fails to consider the long run social, economic and ecological consequences of intensified production. Thus the authors aim to redefine the scope of the discourse, moving beyond simple calls for increased production capacities to instead enmesh food security within a more holistic approach to development which requires better governance, more empowerment, and greater access and fairer distribution of food within more resilient food systems. Ultimately, sustainable intensification is rendered worthless if those facing dire food insecurity remain unable to access the yields of increasing production.“
A new book by John Webster, Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol, seeks to identify and explain the causes and contributors to current problems in animal husbandry, especially those related to 'factory farming', and advance arguments that may contribute to its successful re-orientation.
In many circles, it is taken as a matter of fact that to be able to feed an additional 2 billion people by 2050, farmers everywhere are going to have to adopt the intensive agricultural practices that have been perfected in the US heartland where massive amounts of corn and soybeans are harvested almost every year. For the most part, this production system also separates crop agriculture from livestock agriculture composed of large chicken complexes, huge hog production facilities, and massive feedlots.
In the mailing on 15 May 2012 we highlighted this paper by Seufert et al, published in Nature, which compared yields in organic and conventional farm systems. The study elicited a great deal of media comment and in response the study’s authors have written this interesting piece which you can read here.