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Agriculture

Agriculture

Image showing two agricultural combines harvesting an arable crop

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

23 Nov 2023

Low-intensity cereal rotation and organic production can reduce the risk of mycotoxin contamination in oats

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by fungal infection of agricultural crops. Several hundred mycotoxins have been characterized in a wide range of food crops around the world, and new mycotoxins and mycotoxin metabolites are continuously discovered.

31 Oct 2023

Measurement of Antimicrobial Usage: What Can We Learn Across Livestock Sectors?

Microbes (e.g., bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi) can become resistant to clinical or veterinary drugs (antimicrobials) that are used to treat disease. This has major consequences for how microbial diseases are managed and, therefore, how antimicrobial compounds should be used.

16 May 2023

Microbe Safari: A new web resource for the public and learners

Microbes play a wide variety of essential roles in keeping our guts healthy and in supporting food and agriculture production. Conversely, some microbial populations can cause serious disease, as foodborne pathogens or infectious agents of food-producing animals and crops.

18 Aug 2022

Sustainable Roundworm Control - Getting the Message Across

In an ever-changing world, it is essential that individuals are able to access, and act upon, the most relevant information and advice, and no more so than in agriculture.

14 Jun 2022

Livestock Health and Greenhouse Gases: A SEFARI Specialist Advisory Group

A SEFARI Gateway-funded Specialist Advisory Group brought together a broad range of expertise across key industry stakeholders, Government Policy Leads and relevant SEFARI researchers to discuss livestock health and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), to prioritise health conditions that have the greatest impact on emis

19 Apr 2022

Net zero opportunities to mitigate agricultural emissions in the North East of Scotland

The Scottish Government has committed to legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045. This will require a reduction across all sectors of the economy.

8 Apr 2022

Can open science aid the sustainable transition? Collaborative intercrop research with farmers highlights opportunities for data and knowledge sharing

Scotland has ambitious strategies for biodiversity protection and climate action with the intention of achieving a greener, fairer and just future.

22 Mar 2022

Anthelmintics and the Environment – opening a whole can of worms?

A SEFARI Specialist Advisory Group was established in response to concerns from livestock farmers and agro-ecologists about the adverse environmental impacts of some frontline livestock worming treatments, which reach the environment either in the dung/urine of treated animals or as a result of inappropriate disposa

28 Feb 2022

Healthy cow, healthy milk? Identifying traits that are mutually beneficial to the cow and the consumer

Improvements in the health and productivity of livestock is key for the future sustainability of farming.

14 Dec 2021

Exploring the potential of spatially referenced data to support the evolution of land-based policy in Scotland

The way we manage land and plan land-use change plays an integral role in the efforts for meeting climatic targets and for mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts.

9 Sep 2021

Potato tuber development and quality: Why do some potato varieties sprout more than others?

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is one of the world's most economically important food crops and holds major significance for future food security.

5 Jul 2021

Does lime application to pastures offer win-win benefits for food production and biodiversity?

In the UK the addition of lime to agricultural land was strongly encouraged by Government subsidy payments to farmers, but since subsidies ceased in the late 1970’s the application of lime has declined with subsequent acidification of many soils.

9 Jun 2021

Major weight loss in pregnant cows harms the development of their calves

Body condition scoring is a rapid way to assess fat coverage of livestock. In cattle it is scored on a 1 (lean) to 5 (obese) scale. Scottish beef cows typically gain body condition when grazing and lose some of this condition during the winter before calving in the spring. 

27 Apr 2021

Should we graze the uplands of Scotland?

The continued grazing of the uplands is contentious as the goals of rewilding and farming/crofting often appear in conflict. Any changes to land use will result in cascading impacts through ecosystems, and decisions about land-use need to be informed by data to show that benefits will exceed the disbenefits.

26 Mar 2021

What is the cost of soil erosion in Scotland?

Sustainable soil management is a key component of several Scottish Government policies, including the Land Use Strategy, the Climat

18 Jan 2021

Liver fluke risk and Agri-environment Schemes: a Tale of Toads, Snails and Wetland Birds

In this case study, we describe field investigations of liver fluke risk to livestock associated with grazing under two different agri-environmental schemes and discuss best practice for conservation grazing and sustainable fluke control.

14 Jan 2021

New crop protection targets to control late blight

Control of plant diseases such as potato late blight relies heavily on the use of crop protection products such as fungicides.

16 Dec 2020

Integrated Pest Management: How widely have these management practices been adopted?

Arable crops like wheat and barley, are frequently under attack from diseases, weeds, insects and slugs. These lead to reductions in yield and affect the profitability of farms and the price of produce. To protect crops there is a heavy reliance on pesticides.

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.

Pages

Blog

4 Jul 2023 - 16:14

‘Pick-a-Mix’ helps you find the sweet spot for growing crop mixtures

The way we currently produce food and other agricultural products is under threat from the changing climate, depleted biodiversity, and declining availability of natural resources used to boost productivity.

3 Jul 2023 - 22:31

Arable Scotland: Growing Every Year

On the 4th of July Arable Scotland returns for the 5th year, a field event which is becoming a firm favourite in the calendar with everyone interested in food production.

20 Jun 2023 - 22:20

BSAS 2023 – Farming with Nature

SEFARI Gateway was delighted to sponsor and host a session at the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) Conference at the Birmingham International Conference Centre at the end of March. Its annual conference regularly attracts several hundred delegates, drawn from across academia and the livestock sector.

Events

2024

28 Feb

Scotland Europe Initiative Workshop: Agriculture

The workshop focuses on the effects of Brexit on the Agriculture and Food Sector in Scotland and marks the 11th event in a series under the RSE’s Scotland – Europe Initiative, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh's Europa Institute.

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