With rising costs, unpredictable weather patterns and the removal of pesticides adding to the uncertainties in farming, researchers at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have highlighted the need to build resilient farms.
They are teaming up with colleagues from SAC Consulting to deliver three on-farm events across the country to identify key challenges and create solutions that work on farm.
While there is no single solution, combining innovative and agroecological approaches could help farmers maintain yields and ensure Scotland retains self-sufficiency when it comes to food production.
Innovative techniques include using drones to highlight problematic areas in crops; sensors on livestock to allow early detection of welfare or health issues; and soil testing to allow more targeted use of fertilisers.
On the agroecological side, soil health can be restored by increasing organic matter, integrating livestock into cropping systems and using cover crops to protect soil over winter, while intercropping, multi-species swards and adaptive multi-paddock grazing will improve biodiversity both above and below ground.
Dr Lorna Cole, Ecologist at SAC Consulting, said “Our research illustrates that building resilience into farming systems is not about going back to traditional practices, but embracing technology and combining this technology with the knowledge held by generations of farmers.”
The first meeting will be held at SRUC’s Barony campus on 29 May. It will be followed by an event hosted by Grampian Graziers at Highlands Rewilding’s Beldorney Estate on 8 June and a final meeting at Preston Hall Farm, Pathhead, on 13 June.
For more information, visit: https://SAC-BuildingResilience.eventbrite.co.uk