Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Farm management tools

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.

Image: marissat1330, Italy vineyard grapes, Pixabay, Pixabay licence
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.

Image: USAF, AEHF (Advanced Extremely High Frequency) Satellite, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
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.

Image: Max Pixel, Bee bees honey, CC0 Public Domain
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.

Image: Julie Edgley, Colourful Maize, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
29 January 2019

This paper presents the Open Source Seed (OSS) Licence, a new legal instrument (inspired by open source software) designed to protect access to plant germplasm as a commons accessible to everyone. The legally enforceable licence is being trialled with varieties of tomato, wheat and maize.

22 January 2019

The ongoing government shutdown in the United States means that several databases and websites with agricultural and climate data are currently unavailable. Gro Intelligence is offering free subscriptions to its web app during the shutdown. The web app provides global food and agriculture data.

10 December 2018

Non-profit organisation Ceres has produced an overview of resources (standards, methodologies, tools, and calculators) for assessing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production and agriculturally-driven land use change.

Image: Free-Photos, Pig animal snout, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
3 December 2018

Facial recognition could be used on pig farms in China to provide individualised feeding plans. The artificial intelligence system, created by a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce company JD, can also track a pig’s growth, physical condition and vaccinations over its lifespan.

Image: MaxPixel, Lamb eating, CC0 Public Domain
26 November 2018

A new method for monitoring nutrient concentrations in pasture in real time - using a small near-infrared spectroscopy device - could allow farmers to improve productivity by adjusting livestock grazing patterns, according to this paper.

Image: Gabelglesia, Solar array in the Antioch College South Campus, near the farm. Sheep included, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
19 November 2018

This paper compared soil moisture and biomass growth between pasture both with and without photovoltaic solar panel arrays. While average soil moisture was similar across the fields with and without solar panels, the field with the solar panels had more variable soil moisture: directly underneath the solar panels, persistent stores of soil water were available throughout the growing season. Without solar panels, the pasture experienced water stress in the middle of summer.

12 November 2018

Israeli startup Taranis has raised $20 million in funding for its aerial imaging technology, which uses multispectral images from satellites, planes and drones to scan fields. Artificial intelligence then identifies threats such as insects, crop disease, weeds and nutrient deficiencies. The company claims its technology can increase crop yields by up to 7.5%.

12 November 2018

The Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research has produced an online compendium of methods for assessing agrobiodiversity, including diversity of crops, livestock, pollinators and harvested wild plants.

29 October 2018

This report from the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board reviews how the behaviour of farmers might be influenced so that the recommendations of researchers and policymakers can be implemented on farms.

Image: Tony Atkin, Colourful Hedgerows, Geograph, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
22 October 2018

A paper reviews how “working lands” such as farms, forests and rangelands can be managed to protect biodiversity and ecosystems services. The paper points out that the management of working lands can be complementary to using protected areas to conserve biodiversity.

Image: Good Free Photos, Barn on farmland at Prophetstown State Park, Indiana, CC0 Public Domain
16 October 2018

A feature in the New Food Economy explores how the difficulty of finding farmland at an affordable price presents a barrier to new farmers in the United States. Two online tools have been developed to help farmers find land: Farm to Farmer, which matches farm owners to land seekers, and the Finding Farmland Calculator, which aims to demystify the costs of owning farmland.

Image: Iron Ox Media Assets, Transplanter hero
16 October 2018

California agritech startup Iron Ox has unveiled an “autonomous farm”, where robots move plants and transplant them from one stage to the next. Artificial intelligence controls pests and diseases and adjusts growing conditions. The farm is not entirely automated, as humans still sow seedlings and package the harvested crops. The farm produces leafy greens and herbs.

Image: Sonja Pieper, Ploughing a rice field in South India, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
8 October 2018

Rice cultivation emits methane and nitrous oxide, which are both more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. Policies to reduce methane emissions from rice farming generally recommend using intermittent (as opposed to continuous) flooding. However, intermittent flooding could produce much higher nitrous oxide emissions than continuous flooding, according to a recent paper.

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