Clever science, smart farming - Roger Sylvester-Bradley (Adas)

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  • 1. Farming Futures Workshop at Innovation Farm, 1st February 2011 Clever science, smart farming Roger Sylvester-Bradleywww.adas.co.uk
  • 2. ADAS-mediated innovations: 1 Big bale silage Direct harvested onions Straw incorporation Cereal fungicide strategies Midge resistant wheats
  • 3. ADAS-mediated innovations: 2 Floating mulches Hybrid Nantes Carrots Flat Rate Feeding of Dairy cows Irrigation scheduling Lodging control.
  • 4. Example innovation – SilagePaul Brassley (1996). Silage in Britain, 1880-1990: The DelayedAdoption of an Innovation. Agricultural History Review 44, 63-87.“The most important point to emerge is thenecessity for all components of a system tobe in place before rapid adoption can occur. – Problems with alternatives – hay, roots – Achieving reliability – with a more complex process – Mechanisation – Ease of use“Until all parts of the system were in placemost [farmers] resisted all the blandishmentsof enthusiasts, politicians, scientists andadvisers for nearly a century.”
  • 5. innovations involveinvestment & risk
  • 6. Endogenous forces Koning & van Ittersum (2009) Wheat UK real price US index Exogenous forces 10 wheat prices US UK wheat 8 varieties, herbicides,yields, t/ha 6 lime, P&K, drainage, A new phase threshing myxomatosis of innovation rotation & enclosures machines 4 seed drills .. but what ?? semi-dwarfs, 2 N fertiliser, fungicides, PGRs 0 Percival (1948) & Defra stats.
  • 7. World record wheat crop Grain cv. Einstein 15.7 t/ha – at 15% moisture – and 10.9% protein PA radiation: 1,250 MJ/m2 – For construction & production – UK norm: 1,000 MJ/m2 – Mean temp: 11.6 ºC (UK: 14.6 ºC) Water: summer rain .. 394 mm plus soil .. >200 mm – UK normal summer rain: 220 mm Mike Solari, Alvia Farm, Nitrogen: 535 kg/ha near Gore, Southland, NZ – After peas, 85 kg/ha soil N supply – + 450 kg/ha fertiliser N applied.
  • 8. Targets: slower development, faster growth
  • 9. Targets: slower development, faster growth 87 87 ‘designed’ earliness short to GS31 … better yield ? 87 61 61 61 growth 31 31 Growth Stage development
  • 10. Soil water availability target 170mm  Crop water demand0.5m – Minimum in summer for 15 t/ha grain .. 430mm  Summer rain – Average 220mm  Soils storage1.0m – Requirement, with 20mm ‘insurance’ .. 230mm 99% roots – 140 to 180mm water / metre … norm: 170 mm / metre – 99% roots need to reach 1.8m .. 0.6m extra – Beyond direct intervention +60mm1.5m  Alternatives: – Irrigation .. – Grow maize .. or .. MOVE west ! 99% roots
  • 11. Target: Nutrient efficiency Static fertiliser technology – Little change for >50 years N fertilisers are only ~60% efficient – ~40% is emitted to the environment – P efficiency even less Current research ideas – Better prediction of crop requirements … precision application … crop & soil analysis – Inhibitors / enhancers – Targeting: foliar application, combine drilling – Plant Breeding … Faster uptake .. biological fixation? … Match proteins to market requirements.
  • 12. Science & technology for productivity Genetic improvement – Breeding .. enhanced by genomics, hybrids & GM … Tailored life-cycles … Enhanced metabolism .. esp. photosynthesis … Designed products e.g. protein – Species choice .. Crop rotations Chemical intervention – Integrated genetic-chemical protection systems – Stress resistance: ABA, anti-transpirants – Growth stimulants e.g. grain expansion – Fertiliser enhancements Mechanisation & automation – Soil management .. esp sub-soils – Faster harvesting & establishment – Irrigation – Targeted fertilisers – Sensing and Automation of applications – Information management.
  • 13. Smart farming – new systems  Involves experimentation & risk – Borrowing ideas and honing them  Exploring new systems – Triticale for energy .. feed & fuel – Maize, sunflowers, etc. in S & E – Wheat in the west – Efficient irrigation strategies – Optimising straw use – IT e.g. GPS, traceability – Legume-based leys for protein  Integrating Supply Systems – Climate-soil-species-variety- production-process-consumption … Biofuels .. Bread .. etc.
  • 14. Clever science, Smart farming Time is short – But the opportunity is here! Clever science is for scientists – Science creates an environment for innovation – Biology is only part of the answer Innovation happens „near-farm‟ – Involves risk – Requires investment – Farming must enable innovation … and feed-back to science.
  • 15. Thank youRoger.Sylvester-Bradley@adas.co.uk ADAS Boxworth, Cambridge CB23 4NN