Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Farm management tools

27 August 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute suggests federal policy pathways to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of dairy farming in the United States. It estimates the potential job creation and climate mitigation potential of each proposal and finds that, together, the policy proposals could save and create tens of thousands of jobs, while also reducing dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

29 April 2020

This paper by FCRN member Dominic Moran evaluates Farming for a Better Climate, a participatory extension programme (PEP) in Scotland that assists farmers in adopting climate friendly farming practices. PEPs are a type of advisory service where farmers, researchers and rural experts can swap information. The authors aimed to fill a research gap, since no other evaluations of PEPs for climate friendly farming existed at the time the paper was written. 

7 April 2020

In this paper, FCRN members Pip Brock and Daniel Tan examine how Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is used as a tool for informing resource-use decisions. They contend that two different schools of thought - natural resource management and planning theory - would benefit by learning from each other.

10 March 2020

According to this meta-analysis of 60 studies, cover crops on agricultural land can increase soil microbial abundance, activity, and diversity relative to land left bare between crops, with the effect varying with climate and how the farm is managed (e.g. tilling). The paper does not discuss the extent to which this change in soil microbiome affects crop yields.

13 January 2020

This report from the UK’s Internet of Food Things Network Plus discusses how digital technologies can help food system actors to collaborate on addressing food system challenges such as traceability, food safety, efficiency, sustainability, health and waste.

19 November 2019

This guidance note from the UK’s Food Research Collaboration sets out how “food hubs” - organisations that connect food growers directly to customers - can help to revitalise local economies. It is aimed at food entrepreneurs, funders, not-for-profit workers and policymakers. 

29 October 2019

This book discusses how networks of wireless sensors could be used in African agriculture, e.g. to minimise conflicts between wildlife, people and livestock, or to monitor livestock health.

2 October 2019

FCRN member Susanne Freidberg of Dartmouth College has written this paper about the difficulties that companies such as food manufacturers face in gathering data about their food supply chains and using that data to promote sustainability. The paper is based on over fifty semi-structured interviews with companies and analysis of their data collection tools.

25 June 2019

This paper presents a newly developed open-source system for precision agriculture in lettuce production. The system, known as AirSurf, uses a lightweight manned aircraft to gather images of lettuce fields, then a deep learning algorithm assesses the state of the lettuce crops on a number of characteristics, including lettuce size and number per field.

17 June 2019

This book synthesises the academic literature on sustainable food supply chains and offers quantitative models on topics such as shelf life, vehicle routing and waste management.

3 June 2019

FCRN member Mark Measures has produced this report on the use of different soil analysis and management techniques for organic and agro-ecological farming. The report is the outcome of a Churchill Fellowship.

29 May 2019

This feature in the New Food Economy explores how autonomous weed-picking robots could replace herbicides and tackle weeds that have become resistant to some herbicides. The robots use both GPS tracking and cameras to navigate fields and remove weeds.

29 May 2019

This publication from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations explains what blockchain technology is and explores how it could be used in agriculture, for example in insurance, land registration or tracking supply chains.

1 April 2019

This report from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identifies emerging scientific advances that could help to make the US food system more resilient to rapid changes and extreme conditions, as well as making agriculture more efficient and sustainable.

4 March 2019

Research literature, policy indicators, and assessment tools use many different variables to assess sustainable agricultural land systems in Europe (for example soil loss, landscape diversity and food quality). Out of 239 of these variables identified in this paper, 32 have been covered by all three perspectives (i.e. research, policy and practice) while the remainder have only been considered by one or two perspectives.

26 February 2019

The 2019 Green Alliance Annual Debate discusses the ways in which earth observation and data science can improve our understanding of and ability to address environmental issues - for example, monitoring deforestation or water levels in reservoirs in real time through satellite images.

18 February 2019

Students at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have created a machine learning algorithm to automatically count Varroa mites in beehives. The algorithm could help beekeepers monitor bee health more quickly and accurately.

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