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Agriculture

Agriculture

Scotland’s agriculture sector underpins Scotland’s high performing food and drink industry, is at the heart of our rural communities, and provides benefits to wider society. SEFARI provides the research needed for Scotland to improve the efficiency of good food production whilst protecting the environment, rural communities and animal welfare. This is done through developing tools (for example on disease control, welfare and genetics), research, and the capability to think about agriculture in a wider context. We also work with farmers and growers, processors, food companies, health professionals, nutritionists, and economists to find ways to put our research into practice.

Case Studies

1 Dec 2020

Using Natural Capital Approaches to support sustainable land management in Scotland: Insights from five pilot studies

Natural capital approaches involve identifying, understanding, and measuring the relative contribution of nature to economic performance and human well-being. By adopting the language of business, natural capital approaches allow the natural environment to be included in discussions about business decisions.

16 Nov 2020

Assessing natural capital impacts and dependencies within upland farming systems

Natural capital underpins sustainability and refers to the stocks of natural resources, which include geology, soil, air, water, and all living things.

30 Oct 2020

Antimicrobial resistance: bringing Scottish expertise together to find the solutions

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global, immediate and ongoing concern to human health.

21 Oct 2020

The search for crop pathogens Achilles heels

Plant pathogens trigger changes in host plants that allow them to cause disease.  Understanding which molecules pathogens use to do this (termed effectors), how they allow infection to take place, and how they are detected by plants has important implications for our understanding of plant disease.  

6 Oct 2020

The impact of sustainable cropping on soil-borne diseases – a focus on Rhizoctonia solani AG3

The Centre for Sustainable Cropping (CSC) is a long-term experimental platform established to integrate all aspects of sustainability research on arable ecosystems. The CSC allows us to study crop management at a more integrated and system wide level and compare this to conventional crop husbandry practices.

22 Sep 2020

Recommendations for landscape-level adaptive management for ecological, economic, and social outcomes

Improving the management of Scotland’s natural assets at a landscape-level for ecological, economic, and social outcomes is a priority for the Scottish Government and its partners.

11 Sep 2020

Approaches to reducing potato waste by improving home storage and minimising greening

Potato is the number one wasted household food by weight, estimated at over 700,000 tonnes and with a cost of £555M per annum in the UK. Nearly half of the fresh potatoes bought by UK householders are thrown away.

25 Aug 2020

Making Worms Squirm: Sustainable Worm Control in Lambs through Precision Livestock Farming

Electronic identification (EID) tags have been compulsory in UK sheep flocks since 2010, and a decade after their introduction, can still be a controversial topic.

10 Jun 2020

Nematodirus battus: Is it likely to spiral out of control?

Farming practices are evolving in response to intensification, diversification and climate change. As farm management has changed, pathogens of livestock have also adapted to optimise their reproduction and transmission opportunities.

3 Jun 2020

Not all roots are equal – so what?

Soil is, and always will be, a very valuable resource. Soil is critical for food production and regulating several services to the wider environment, such as flood regulation and storing carbon.

1 Apr 2020

Diversity in the Mix: The benefits of biodiversity for sustainable crop production

We are currently facing three major global challenges: climate change, biodiversity loss and the development of sustainable food production systems. Ideal solutions to these challenges would be ones that deliver win-wins, addressing at least two of these simultaneously.

10 Dec 2019

Protecting Potatoes - Scotland's Story

Since the emergence of late blight (Phytophthora infestans) in the 1840s this disease has presented a major challenge to the potato industry, with annual losses estimated to be £55 million in the UK.

1 May 2019

Scotland’s harmful acidic soils - Can liming improve cropping sustainability?

The Soil Survey of Scotland shows that large areas of Scotland have acidic soils. Soils with a pH less than 5.6 inhibit root growth, which can reduce crop yields.

6 Mar 2019

Climate Change and Parasitism – Breaking the Cycle

This case study will summarise ongoing research on Teladorsagia circumcincta, one of the most common and economically important endemic parasites to control in sheep in the UK.

28 Jan 2019

Breeding to Reduce Methane Emissions from Beef Cattle

Beef production is very important for Scotland's economy (economic output of £851 million in 2017) and for providing the high quality and iconic, ‘Scotch Beef’ brand.

5 Nov 2018

The economic cost of animal disease: Winners and losers from Johne’s disease

SEFARI scientists, in collaboration with other research partners, provide evidence which informs the Scottish Government about the economic consequences of animal diseases.

14 Aug 2018

Citizen Science: How to Investigate Pests and Diseases Under Climate Change

We have created a state-of-the-art, and free to download, desktop app to provide climate change risk assessments for crops pests and diseases in the UK that anyone can use.

Blog

29 Oct 2020 - 12:11

Anthelmintic resistance – can we stay ahead of the game?

Sustainability and food security are two terms that are commonly used in relation to the UK agricultural sector.  In a changing climate, there is a need to reduce the impact of endemic diseases on livestock health, welfare and productivity.

28 Aug 2020 - 11:28

Informing & influencing public opinion towards supporting UK livestock farmers

In this blog, we discuss a new project that is seeking to support and inform farmers (through both research and communications) on how to best promote fair, balanced, and more impactful, positive stories about the livestock industry. 

2 Jul 2020 - 09:54

Taste of Plants

Eating a nutritious and more environmentally sustainable diet is an increasing priority. Growing and consuming novel crops could form part of the solution.