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value of natural capital: the need for chartered surveyors

this insight paper reviews the broad topic of environmental valuation from the perspective of a practising valuer, land manager or estate manager. this paper approaches the field of economic valuation of the environment from a professional valuation perspective. (charles cowap for the rics)the language and approaches of environmental valuation are presented to enable parallels to be drawn with the professional and technical procedures that are familiar to professional valuers when dealing with the valuation of conventional property assets in established (actual or notional) market contexts. naturally, care is r...




drones that detect early plant disease could save crops

researchers are developing drones that could detect plant disease before any visible signs show, allowing farmers to stop infections in their tracks. disease can negatively impact plant health before any visible signs like leaf discolouration show. while these stresses are invisible to the naked eye, cameras using special filters could detect these subtle changes.now, researchers in the imperial college department of life sciences and computing are partnering with agriculture services company agrii to create cameras mounted on drones. these cameras could automatically detect early disease stages, and tell farmers when to spray, before the disease damages the crop.spraying early in the right ...




photoprotection and crop productivity | farming futures

this recent research article in science has received a decent amount of attention for good reason given the possible impact it could have on crop productivity through increasing photosynthetic efficiency. however, the approach to increasing efficiency in this paper varies considerably from the efforts to transport c4 photosynthesis into c3 crops more regularly seen.backgroundwe have a good understanding of the working of photosynthesis and its use of photons and excited electrons to fix carbon. but built into this system is a protection mechanism that kicks in when the intensity of light is too great for the co2 fixation capacity of the photosystems, a damaging state for the plant to be in. w...




a chromosome conformation capture ordered sequence of the barley genome

editor's summarytriticeae grasses, which include barley, wheat and rye, are widely cultivated plants with particularly complex genomes and evolutionary histories. sequencing of the barley genome has been particularly challenging owing to its large size and particular genomic features, such as an abundance of repetitive elements.nils stein and colleagues of the international barley genome sequencing consortium report sequencing and assembly of a reference genome for barley (hordeumvulgare l). they use a combined approach of hierarchical shotgun sequencing of bacterial artificial chromosomes, genome mapping on nanochannel arrays and chromosome-scale scaffolding with hi-c sequencing.this brings ...




rethinking food preparation with collaborative robotics research

the days of labour intensive industrial food preparation could be numbered with the launch of an innovate uk project focused on robotics in food manufacturing. oal (olympus automation ltd.) and the university of lincoln, uk, have been awarded £448,850 to develop innovative april™ robotics material handling systems for food manufacturers. the new project aims to enable a step-change in the adoption of robotics and automation to enhance productivity in the food and drink industry, the uk's largest manufacturing sector. it will be led by engineers from oal in partnership with the university of lincoln.the new one-year project, which is supported by a grant of £448,850 from the uk governmen...




vector and nonvector insect feeding reduces subsequent plant susceptibility to virus transmission

the interactions of vector–virus–plant have important ecological and evolutionary implications. while the tripartite interactions have received some attention, little is known about whether vector infestation affects subsequent viral transmission and infection.working with the whitefly bemisia tabaci, begomovirus and tobacco/tomato, we demonstrate that pre-infestation of plants by the whitefly vector reduced subsequent plant susceptibility to viral transmission. pre-infestation by the cotton bollworm, a nonvector of the virus, likewise repressed subsequent viral transmission.the two types of insects, with piercing and chewing mouthparts, respectively, activated different plant signaling p...




ahdb potatoes has launched a new website to help combat blight

blight.ahdb.org.uk will allow industry experts to report blight outbreaks more efficiently than ever before.late blight, caused by the pathogen phytophthora infestans, remains the single most important disease for the british potato trade. spreading quickly in the foliage, a typical blight pressure season can cost the industry about £55 million a year in a business-as-usual scenario.understanding uk outbreakswith such a significant impact on the industry, it’s important to respond quickly and raise awareness of the risk associated with its changing strains. as a part of its research into blight populations, ahdb potatoes’ highly successful fight against blight campaign has been redevelop...




the need for feed | farming futures

why a blog?the farming futures blog is for farmers, land managers and their advisers to discuss and debate the issue of climate change and sustainability in agriculture.we’re interested in how you think we can produce more food for a growing population in the context of government targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, hotter, drier summers, higher energy and input prices, and the increased consumer interest in 'low carbon' food.this is your place to take part in the debate. find out why we think a blog is impor...




dairy, horticulture and lowland grazing livestock reports, farm business survey 2015/16.

highlights from the reports include:dairy farming in englandaverage farm business income (fbi) on conventional dairy farms in 2015/16 was £283/ha (£41,318 per farm), whilst on organic farms average fbi was £458/ha (£61,830 per farm)the national herd size increased by approximately 46,000 cows to a level of 1,906,000 cows and returned to a level not seen since 2008/09horticulture production in englandspecialist glass and other horticulture businesses increased profitability by 25% and 18% respectively from 2014/15 to 2015/16, whereas profitability for specialist hardy nursery stock and specialist fruit type businesses fell by 4% and 8% in 2015 the uk was 38% self-sufficient in all vegetab...




yara imageit is free for farmers

yara imageit is a smartphone app designed to measure nitrogen uptake in a crop and generate a nitrogen recommendation based on photographs of the crop. imageit calculates nitrogen uptake based on leaf cover, leaf green color and estimated fraction of brown leaves. the app also generates an intelligent recommendation for adjusting the fertilization program based on measurements.imageit is user-friendly and flexible in terms of technical requirements: it works wit...




outdoor herd drives improving sow productivity in 2016

the productivity of the gb breeding pig herd continued to increase last year albeit at a slower rate, according to the latest figures from agrosoft.in the twelve months ending december 2016, the number of pigs weaned per sow per year averaged 24.83 across all herds, 0.45 more than in 2015. this increase occurred despite a rise in pre-weaning mortality relative to the year earlier, returning to 2014 levels.stronger gains were made by the outdoor breeding herd, with pigs weaned per sow per year up 0.68 on 2015 at 22.77. this was attributable to an increase in the number of pigs born alive per litter, and a slight increase in the number of litters per sow. improvements in the productivity of the...




metrics for sustainable healthy diets: why, what how?

the fcrn and the food foundation have jointly produced new report based on a meeting, held november 2016, on the topic of metrics for sustainable healthy diets for the food industry. while a range of sustainability metrics for this industry already exists, none comprehensively measure the progress (or otherwise) that food companies are taking to foster a public shift towards more sustainable and healthy eating patterns (sheps). the meeting report considers whether further work on such a set of metrics would be of use.while governments have a major role to play in stimulating a shift towards sustainable healthy diets, food companies are the gatekeepers of consumption. the food that companies p...




growing cover crops in organic arable crop rotations: best practices from denmark

reduced soil quality, soil erosion, nutrient losses and high weed pressure are common challenges in arable farming. cover crops can help to overcome these problems. but they are ‘yet another expense’ and might compete with the main crop for water, light and nutrients. thus, successful implementation of cover crops requires knowledge of where in the rotation to grow them, which species to grow, and when and how to manage them. (netarable)growing cover crops solves many of the problems related to arable farming. based on extensive experiences with cover crops in denmark, seges has drawn conclusions for management of cover crops in arable rotations.when sown correctly at the right time, in t...




case study: the land app

the land app is a design tool for land management. digitising the land you manage into one, secure place – with information available at the touch of a button. the product: the land app is a design tool for land management. it allows you to digitise the land you manage, to gather everything into one place, helping you see the overview of what you are managing and enabling you to make more strategic decisions. the land app has been devised as a solution to an overwhelming problem for many land, forestry and estate owners. when deciding when to change or manipulate land or land use activity, it can create a real headache when you have all sorts of information from water networks, building ...




glyphosate and toxicity: the facts

when it comes to the toxicity of a substance “the dose makes the poison” – just because a chemical is present doesn’t mean it is harmful in the amount present. (nfu)apple seeds, pears, potatoes and courgettes all contain natural chemicals that are toxic to humans but they are only present in very small amounts, well below the harmful dose.ld50 is used as a measurement of toxicity. it is the amount of...




case study: the land app

the land app is a design tool for land management. digitising the land you manage into one, secure place – with information available at the touch of a button. (rau farm491)the product: the land app is a design tool for land management. it allows you to digitise the land you manage, to gather everything into one place, helping you see the overview of what you are managing and enabling you to make more strategic decisions. ipadthe land app has been devised as a solution to an overwhelming problem for many land, forestry and estate owners. when deciding when to change or manipulate land or land use activity, it can create a real headache when you have all sorts of information from water net...




crop protection contributions toward agricultural productivity

many rely on just a few to provide food and fiber--and crop protection techniques are a major factor in this essential productivity. but the continued reliance on past methods alone threatens modern-day food security. innovation and a push for the development of integrated plant protection technologies must continue to provide effective, economical, and efficient pest management. (cast: council for agricultural science and technology, ames, iowa)the authors of this cast issue paper examine the current plant protection revolution that is driven by the biological realities of pesticide resistance, various market forces, and real or perceived side effects of pesticides. they point out that "cro...




preparing farms and estates for brexit

a focus on improving farm management through marginal gains and a willingness to invest and diversify will be key to farms and estates preparing themselves for the brave new world of brexit. (strutt & parker via stackyard)james farrell, head of estate & land management at strutt & parker, says rural businesses will need to embrace change if they are to thrive in the future and now is the time to act.mr farrell says: “that will mean understanding new areas of opportunity, such as natural capital, which has the potential to create valuable new revenue streams for some.“investing in natural capital will involve landowners entering into long-term contracts where they are paid to produce env...




research opportunities to improve plant health

this whitepaper reports the deliberations of a workshop focused on biotic challenges to plant health held in washington, d.c. in september 2016.ensuring health of food plants is critical to maintaining the quality and productivity of crops and for sustenance of the rapidly growing human population. there is a close linkage between food security and societal stability; however, global food security is threatened by the vulnerability of our agricultural systems to numerous pests, pathogens, weeds, and environmental stresses. these threats are aggravated by climate change, the globalization of agriculture, and an over-reliance on non-sustainable inputs.new analytical and computational technologi...




nz farmer breeding ultimate high performing low input sheep with a short bare tail

heriot farmer allan richardson is using his long-term market vision to help develop a high performing, low input sheep - topped off with a short, bare tail.inspired by the work of dr david scobie, who at the time was working at agresearch to design the ultimate sheep, richardson decided he wanted to create his own ultimate sheep. in 2004, he began working on the avalon genetics ultimate. "we were already down that track really by default because we had perendales and texels, and we had wiltshires and some of them had the bareness traits that he already had. so for us it was a natural progression," allan says.when the development began, richardson enlisted the help of scobie to advise. "th...