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Low carbon and low input production systems – scoping study - IF0177

Description
The aim of this scoping study is to explore the carbon components of key production steps within conventional growing systems and to identify techniques that could contribute to low carbon farming. This should identify where reductions in carbon inputs could be achieved without compromising yield and quality and inform the development of low carbon production systems which are resilient and adaptable to change. Water use will be examined principally from the perspective of its carbon burden.

Information on current production practices will be assimilated to provide a baseline for the assessments of carbon and water use. This will be obtained from standard sources and by consultation with farmers and growers. Model crops will be chosen – preferred options are potatoes, calabrese and oil seed rape. An initial framework will be developed to summarise the steps from sowing to harvest. This will provide a structure for quantifying the carbon inputs at every stage of production and identifying the main areas where reductions/substitutions could be made. It will also be used to identify the main areas of water use.

Techniques that could contribute to low carbon farming will be identified and key positive and negative interactions between techniques will be explored. This will be achieved through a literature review and use of an expert panel. The role of decision support tools, particularly crop models, will be evaluated to identify where current models can have a positive impact and where there are gaps. The current and future role of plant genetics will be considered and the extent to which resource use can be extended by manipulating the gene pool will be discussed. The impact of climate change and the effects of predicted changes in temperature, rainfall and CO2 (including effects on pests, diseases, weeds and beneficial organisms) will also be considered. Comment will be made on the biological, environmental and economic resilience of various approaches and recommendations for future research and development will be made.
Objective
7. (b) Objectives

Title: Low carbon and low input production systems and their impact on ecosystem services – a scoping study

The aim of this scoping study is to explore the carbon components of key production steps within conventional growing systems and to identify techniques that could contribute to low carbon farming.

The specific objectives of the scoping study are to:

1. Assimilate information on production practices to provide a baseline for the framework

2. Produce a sowing to harvest inventory to establish a framework for quantifying carbon inputs and identifying water use

3. Identify techniques that could contribute to low carbon farming and explore key positive and negative interactions between techniques

4. Comment on the biological, environmental and economic resilience of various approaches

5. Make recommendations for future research and development

Project Documents
• ROAME Document : IF01   (165k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2009

Cost: £50,279
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Warwick - HRI
Keywords
Carbon              
Environmental Protection              
Integrated Farming Systems              
Sustainable Farming and Food Science              
Sustainable Farming Systems