New research carried out as part of the EU funded LIFT project has revealed that ecological practices are the way forward. This research was carried out at the Scottish Rural College (SRUC), United Kingdom. It shows that such practices can help farmers increase profits and achieve sustainable agricultural goals.
The research included the economic evaluation of four different ecological management techniques used on Scottish livestock farms. As part of an early 2020 survey of Scottish farmers, data was collected from 31 farms.
ScotFarm, a farm-level economic model, was used to analyze the economic impact of different ecological practices. The model assumes that all farm activities are interconnected and work together to maximize farm profits.
Proposed measures: The pros & the cons
According to a news article posted on “FarmingUK”, the study sought to determine whether economically feasible management practices would lead to better farmer uptake. Two easy-to-implement measures, such as converting some farmland to an ecological area or reducing farm inputs, could lead up to a 7-percent increase in farm profit. However, organic approaches such as reserving farmland to plant trees or switching to an organic farming system need capital investment. This makes it difficult to support livestock farmers.
“The Scottish government has proposed a long term Climate Change Plan to achieve a cleaner greener and more healthy Scotland by 2032,” said Dr. Shailesh Shrestha, SRUC, in the same news item. These plans could be supported by the adaptation of agro-ecological management techniques by farmers. The economic impact of these practices adoption is a crucial issue. Our research revealed the economic consequences of several ecological management practices as well as the economic challenges faced by farmers when they adopt them on farms. To maximize the adoption of these management practices by the Scottish farming population, it would be helpful to have a better understanding of their economic feasibility.
Agriculture must adapt to the world’s changing environment and consumption habits. People’s perceptions of how farms work are changing as they gain a better understanding of ecological principles. We need to understand how ecological practices will benefit farming and how best to implement them. Farmers will also need to be open to the idea.
The LIFT (Low-Input Farming and TerritoriesIntegrating knowledge for improving ecosystem-based farming) project has sought to determine the benefits of ecological farming in the EU and to understand how socioeconomic and policy factors affect the adoption, performance and sustainability of ecological management practices at various levels, from a single farm to an entire territory.
Regenerative grazing improves soil fertility and plant biodiversity
Website for LIFT project: www.lift-h2020.eu/
Farming practices that are good for the environment as well as the farmer’s wallet (2022, February 1)
Retrieved 1 February 2022
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