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A knowledge exchange network for researchers and rural professionals who advise farming and land businesses


Latest News

Ecosystem Services: Taking the Next Step

The Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter is hosting a one-day symposium on Ecosystem Services: Taking the Next Step in Exeter on 1 June 2015. The symposium will explore current evidence and innovation around ecosystem services and the ecosystems approach, together with a forward look for researchers and practitioners. Land managers and practitioners from the advisory professions will be very welcome.  Numbers will be limited so do get in touch if you are interested.  The programme and booking information are available on the website. 


Combating Liver Fluke: Sustainable Control

Three events organised by Innovation for Agriculture with Advanced Training Partnership
Tuesday 5th May at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire
Wednesday 6th May at Cockle Park Farm, Morpeth, Northumberland
Thursday 7th May at Westmorland Ag Society, Lane Farm, Cumbria
This workshop will help you understand how you and your vet can help to control liver fluke on your farm in a way that could reduce your use of drugs and provide a longer lasting method of control.  Book on line or contact Charlotte Johnston on 07779572598 or email charlottej@rase.org.uk .


Innovative Farming: A one day event for researchers and farmers

How can farming contribute to innovative research? On 19 May 2015 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, farmers from England and researchers from across Europe we will look at how both parties can work closer together to improve outputs and farm profitability. They hope that by sharing experiences from both the farmer and researcher perspective, others will be inspired to collaborate for mutual benefit. The event is free for farmers to attend. There is a small charge of £15 for researchers and industry. Book online or for more information please contact Charlotte Johnston on 07779572598 or email charlottej@rase.org.uk


Insects could help maintain sustainability of livestock industry

How can we ensure livestock production remains sustainable?  Using insects in animal feed could be one potential solution.  A research team from Ghent University Faculty of Bioscience Engineering interviewed 196 farmers, 137 agriculture sector stakeholders and 82 citizen/consumers about their attitudes, product attribute beliefs, perceived benefits, risks and concerns, and willingness-to-accept and use insect-based animal feed and the resulting livestock products.  Agriculture sector stakeholders showed the most favorable attitude towards the use of insects in animal feed (average score of 4.16 on a scale from 1 to 5), followed by citizens (3.89) and farmers (3.83). The idea was most warmly welcomed for fish and poultry feed, followed by pig feed, and to a lower extent pet food and cattle feed.  The study was performed in January 2015 in Flanders, an area with a highly specialized intensive livestock farming industry.


Working outside our comfort zones to deliver impact

In the latest landbridge blog, Julia Cooper, Lecturer in Soil Science in the School of Agriculture at Newcastle University explains how researchers and partners have been collaborating in an innovative workshop on strategies to improve Nitrogen efficiency on farms.


Relu Newsletter - April 2015

The Rural Economy and Land Use Programme April 2015 Newsletter includes all the latest news and updates on Relu and LWEC research projects, events, staff and publications.

Superfeed lupins will save soya protein
The potential for home-grown sweet lupins to replace imported soya in livestock, poultry and aquaculture concentrate feeds has been made clear through the three year project at Aberystwyth University which has revealed that livestock, poultry and fish given rations containing lupins perform equally well and in some cases better than those fed rations of comparable quality containing soya.

Rothamsted launches new knowledge exchange project for farmers and land advisers

The CROPPROTECT project, based at Rothamsted Research, is developing a web-based knowledge exchange system to provide farmers and agronomists with guidance on pest, weed and disease management, especially in situations where effective pesticides are not available and alternative approaches are required. Log onto CROPPROTECT on the Rothamsted website. In the latest landbridge blog Toby Bruce from Rothamsted Research, explains what it aims to achieve and how it will develop.


Submit your question about business practice to the Nexus Network

The Nexus Network which brings together researchers, policy makers, business leaders and civil society to develop collaborative projects and improve decision making on food, energy, water and the environment, is asking members of the business community to tell them: What are the most important questions around business practice that, if answered, could help companies manage their dependencies and impacts upon food, energy, water and the environment? For more information, and to submit your questions between now and July, visit the Nexus Network website.

European Innovation Partnership (EIP) for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability launched

Defra have launched the first two elements of the Countryside Productivity Scheme which includes the new European Innovation Partnership (EIP) for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability. £5m will be available to build innovation in European Agriculture by bringing together researchers and farmers/ foresters to apply new approaches, translate research into practice and to exchange knowledge. Delivery of EIP-Agri will be through Operational Groups, comprising some combination of farmers, foresters, researchers, advisers, NGOs and others. OGs will be set up by the participants with a common interest in a specific, practical innovative project. Activities are expected to include application or translation of research, pilot approaches and knowledge exchange. Applications will be invited from Summer 2015. From 9th March Defra are asking those interested in forming an Operational Group to send in a Notification of Idea (NoI) to eip-agri-england@defra.gsi.gov.uk.

How are pests and diseases affecting bee pollinators?
Bees are important for food production; there are over 250 species in the United Kingdom and they provide pollination services for many of our crops. Pests and diseases, sometimes in combination with other factors, can cause decline in bee populations. LWEC policy and practice note no 17 looks at the latest research and makes recommendations for minimising pest and disease risks to wild and managed pollinator bees.


Making policy and managing land to minimise risk to pollination services

The toxic effects of common pesticides are rarely highly specific and can pose a risk to beneficial insects such as pollinating bees. LWEC’s Policy and Practice Note no 16 looks at how these risks might be minimised by policymakers, in how they design and implement policy, and by land managers in their approach to pest control.


Engineering innovation for agricultural water management

The Instituion of Agricultural Engineers is holding its annual conference on 20th May 2015 at Newcastle University exploring the current state of on-farm water management and the role of engineering in agricultural water management. It will report on novel systems for water management and new tools and actions. See programme for more details and booking information.


Managing the environment to improve human health & wellbeing

The Valuing Nature Programme is inviting interested parties to contribute to the shaping of its forthcoming health and wellbeing call - to be announced in May 2015 - by completing the an online survey (deadline 13 March 2015). The five year, c£6.5m Valuing Nature Programme (VNP) is supported by NERC, ESRC, BBSRC, AHRC and Defra. This funding call will address the goal of “Improving our understanding of the role biodiversity and ecosystem processes play in human health and wellbeing”. Research for this call will focus on the themes of: Natural hazards and extreme events;Exposure of people to vector-borne diseases and marine toxins; and Health improvements associated with urban ecosystems (green space).The VNP Coordination Team is asking for input to identify key research challenges that could help develop interdisciplinary capability. All responses will be used by the VNP funders to shape the Health & Wellbeing call.

New water capital grants available

Farmers and land managers in England will soon be able to apply to Natural England for a water capital grant of up to £10,000 to help them carry out works that will improve water management and quality on their land. Providing a total of £10 million worth of funding to the farm industry, these government grants will fund new projects that reduce the impact agriculture can have on our water quality. Applications to the water capital grants fund can be submitted from 2 March 2015 and must be received by Natural England on or before 30 April 2015.










"The more knowledge you share, the more you will benefit in return"

Mike Butcher, Agronomist and Landbridge member