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Farm level

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:

  • an overview of adaptive and transformative strategies designed to move towards integrated crop, livestock and tree integrated farming systems in Europe.

Indicators of efficiency and resilience at farm level
We further develop the use of indicators (created and modified in CantogetherMix-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:

  • a report 'Characterization of mixed farming systems in three themes'

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:

  1. Sheep grazing winter cereals for winter fodder and soil quality (conventional, UK Scotland)
    Poster: Grazing of winter cereals provides valuable late winter feed while maintaining grain and straw yields.
    Video: Winter cereal grazing.
  2. Animal welfare, environmental and climate impact of silvopastoral systems (organic, Denmark)
    Poster: Willow in organic fattening pig production
    Video: Integrating organic fattening pigs and willow
  3. Conserving agriculture in Mediterranean agro-forest-pastoral systems (conventional, Portugal)
    Poster: Mixed production at the landscape level: an emergy assessment
    Video: Emergy assessment of mixed farming: the Montado system
  4. Impact of hedgerows on crop production, soil properties and weeks (organic, Poland)
    Poster: Performance of different ecosystem services as affected by tree lines in Juchowo biodynamic farm
    Video: Impact of trees on crop yield and performance of selected agro-environmental parameters - Juchowo experiment

See also posters presented at a MIXED workshop, September 2023, Toulouse:

Literature study and review of relevant research projects addressing MiFAS(D3.1)

Simulating farm interactions at landscape level MIXed FARM interaction Model (MIXFARM) applied in Ariège 

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.

Research coordinator

Farm level

Christine Watson (SRUC)
Mail: Christine.watson@sruc.ac.uk  
Phone: +44 (0) 1224 711143
Web: https://pure.sruc.ac.uk/en/persons/christine-watson

Assisted by 

Kairsty Topp (SRUC)
Mail: kairsty.topp@sruc.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0) 131 535 4026
Web: https://pure.sruc.ac.uk/en/persons/kairsty-topp

Development and evaluation of efficient and resilient mixed farming and agroforestry systems (MiFAS) Christine Watson (SRUC) explains how the MIXED project will test innovative MiFAS in four through pilot studies in Denmark, Poland, Portugal and the UK.