We explore how the transition to more integrated farming systems can occur through small incremental or adaptive changes to existing systems with relatively small investments and limited new knowledge requirement, or through more transformational changes that may have significant longer-term benefits in the face of climate change, but may also require larger investments. Through participatory workshops, there will be co-design of Mixed Farming and Agroforestry Systems (MiFAS) using Forage Rummy, a board game including a farm model supporting the participatory redesign of crop-livestock farms.
The project will provide:
Indicators of efficiency and resilience at farm level
We further develop the use of indicators (created and modified in Cantogether, Mix-Enable and SURE-Farm) to stimulate knowledge exchange and support uptake by farmers. The indicators of resilience and efficiency includes indicators appropriate for describing temporal changes in the farming system, which reflect changes in the (external) environment. Where appropriate, will engage farmers in making measurements themselves.
The project has prepared:
Characterising on-farm delivery of efficient and resilient MiFAS
We use data from up to 8 farms per network to characterise types of MiFAS in terms of the ecosystem service they provide. We identify four key types of ecosystem services (i) provisioning services, in particular production of animal (milk, meat) and plant products (grain, fibre, biomass); (ii) supporting services, in particular, soil fertility and nutrient cycling; and (iii) regulating services, in particular crop and animal health regulation and carbon storage (iv) cultural services, in particular animal welfare and traditional products. Characterising both organic and conventional farms will allow us to explore the different barriers and opportunities these management systems afford.
The results of the first round of data collection is provided in:
The project will prepare:
Detailed testing of innovations in MiFAS with widespread potential for increased efficiency and resilience and climate change mitigation potential
We are testing four innovative adaptations identified as widely applicable approaches - with interest from farmers but lacking robust testing, including the mitigation and resiliency potentials related to climate change. The innovation studies were presented in posters at a project meeting in September 2023 in Toulouse as well as in webinars during May – September 2022:
See also posters presented at a MIXED workshop, September 2023, Toulouse:
Farm data collection hub
We have a coordination hub for the collection of farm level data to be used in all the MIXED research activities. Technical and economic data will be collected on farm resources (land area, soil types, animals, equipment, irrigation, workforce, etc.) and practices (grazing management, feeding management, tillage, etc.). MIXED is part of the Open Research Data Pilot – se more on the management of data in the MIXED Data Management Plan.
Christine Watson (SRUC)
Phone: +44 (0) 1224 711143