What is Innovation for Agriculture?
Innovation for Agriculture (IfA) helps farmers make best use of existing and emerging knowledge… to help meet the challenge of feeding the world and improve the environment and animal welfare; creating fulfilling opportunities for current and future generations.
IfA Currently operates in three specialist technical areas:
- Precision livestock farming and animal welfare (the use of sensor technologies with animals)
- Soil and water, with an emphasis of soil organic matter and biology
- Antibiotic reduction and resistance
Further information on each of these key areas can be found below.
IfA brings farmers into personal contact with trusted knowledge sources, to help them improve farm productivity, profitability and sustainability.
Participative farmer workshops, national conferences, interactive video presentations, online live and offline recorded webinars, short and long form narrative and social media all play a part in the integrated knowledge exchange programmes they run. These are funded by a combination of charitable giving, commercial clients, and national or international development funds.
Sixteen agricultural societies – including The Royal Bath & West of England Society – are committed IfA partners. In much of the work, these partner societies are integrally involved and enable a unique connection between IfA projects and their farmer members.
Making this happen is a high calibre team of experienced agriculturalists, technical specialists and social science practitioners, all dedicated to enabling change-for-the-better.
Precision Livestock Farming & Animal Welfare – 4D4F
IfA is the lead partner in the Horizon 2020 EU Data Driven Dairy Decision for Farmers (4D4F) project, which has 16 partners across 9 EU countries. The project investigates the role which animal and environmental sensors can play in collecting real time information to help make better informed decisions in dairy farming.
Soil & Water Programme
In October 2017, IfA’s soils team led a study tour for the National Trust to engage their tenant farmers with innovative approaches to sustainable agriculture.
This pilot scheme, funded by The Sheepdrove Trust, will run for three years and the group, which included farmers and land managers, toured the West Midlands over 3 days. Visits included farms and businesses, observing sustainable techniques, demonstrated by industry peers and facilitated by IfA.
Antibiotic Reduction & Resistance
Late 2017 has been a busy period for the antibiotic project team. Industry-leading vets, farm managers and other experts met with Innovation for Agriculture to discuss ways to reduce antibiotic use in pig and poultry production at a “Practical Approaches for Reducing Antibiotic Usage” round-table discussion.
During this time the team also delivered farmer workshops where attendees had the opportunity to learn more about health issues in beef and lamb. The sessions focused on improving livestock health through a combination of vaccination, good hygiene, quality nutrition and housing with opportunities to reduce overall antibiotic usage. Following on from the success of these events a dairy antibiotic reduction conference took place at the Bath & West Showground in December 2017 and a number of farmer and industry workshops will be held across the country in 2018.