28 May 2018
Agroforestry as sustainable land use

EURAF 2018 CONFERENCE: Opportunity for farmers to attend

10 June 2018
Open Farm Sunday at Sonning Farm

We will be showcasing our trials at Reading University Crops Research Unit



22 May 2018
Organic farming: new EU rules adopted

New regulation to come into effect 1 January 2021

21 May 2018
Defra release organic farming stats for 2017

Organic land area in UK slowly increasing



3 May 2018
Stop the dock!

A new technical guide for reducing docks on farmland


Sustainable economic and ecological grazing systems

Full project title:

Sustainable economic and ecological grazing systems- learning from innovative practitioners

Acronym:

SEEGSLIP

Contract period:

1 January 2018 to 31 December 2020

Main funder:

UK Global Food Security Programme

Contact staff at ORC:

Laurence Smith

Other staff involved:

Samantha Mullender

Project aims

Our research aims to evaluate the ecological, agronomic, economic and social impacts of the pasture-fed livestock approach to grazing management and its potential as the basis of a sustainable GB-wide system. A team of researchers from different scientific disciplines (from CEH, Lancaster University, SRUC and the Organic Research Centre) led by Dr Lisa Norton at CEH will carry out a formal assessment of the agronomic, socio-ecological and sustainability and resilience aspects of Pasture Fed Livestock Association (PFLA) members’ farm systems and the social systems in which they are embedded (including industry bodies and citizen-consumers). The team will work closely with producers, the PFLA and other supporting organisations as key project partners, to assess sustainability and gain a holistic picture of their practices. In 2018, we hope to cover a broad spectrum of sixty beef PLFA enterprises to gain an overview of the farms which will be compared to existing data on livestock farms from previous studies. In 2019, we will focus on a smaller subset of farms and will carry out more detailed data collection to assess specific management practices, like 'mob grazing' and gain a deeper understanding of the PFLA systems.

During the project we will work closely with farmers to help them to assess the ‘health’ of their own systems, including specific soil and vegetation measures. The evidence provided by the project will be aimed at informing livestock farmers, consumers of Pasture for Life products and the wider public as well as policy makers and farming bodies, like the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). The prospect of a resilient and productive grassland landscape which is storing carbon, preserving water quality and enhancing biodiversity is compelling for farmers, governments and wider publics.

ORC's role

ORC's input will focus on the appication of the Public Goods Tool on 60 pasture-fed livestock farms.

Project leader and partners

  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology - Project leaders
  • Lancaster University
  • Scotland's Rural College - SRUC
  • Pasture-Fed Livestock Association