Information on forest risks now available on line
Forestrisks.net, a website hosted by the University of Edinburgh and developed by Dr Genevieve Patenaude and Susan Davies with funding from NERC is now available. It provides information from UK research on threats from natural disturbances to forests worldwide, including wind, fire, pests and disease and drought. The website is designed to help anyone involved in risk assessment and risk management, including land and forestry advisers, insurers, forest owners and managers, consultants and investors. It will be updated regularly and the information is provided free of charge but it would be very helpful if you can inform email@example.com if you make use of any information in a professional context. This is so that a record can be kept about impacts from the project in order to secure continued funding.
Will diamondback moth threaten brassica crops?
Diamondback moths have been crossing the English Channel over the past fortnight in far greater numbers than usual and there have been some alarming headlines in the media. In an article in The Conversation Newcastle PhD student Callum Macgregor explains what threats this 'super moth' might actually pose for brassica crops.
Spelt and rye information session, including updated yield results
Newcastle University Nafferton Ecological Farming Group will be hosting its next spelt and rye information session on 2 July 2016. The day will include updated yield results from the first year of the trial, a tour of the current field trials (including new quinoa and buckwheat trials) and updates on nutritional analyses of cereals and a visit to Gilchester Organic Farm flour production facilities. This will be the third in a series of informative events focussed on the spelt and rye field trials, which are components of the EU-funded Healthy Minor Cereals (HMC) project and the DEFRA-funded Sustainable Intensification Platform (SIP). HMC is focussed on enhancing exploitation of minor cereal species while SIP is a multi-disciplinary collaborative platform designed to explore the opportunities and risks for sustainable intensification. With support from Gilchesters Organics, Nafferton Ecological Farming Group is currently trialling four different varieties of spelt and rye under different fertilisation regimes and invites you to learn more about this trial and its implications for cereal growers, processors and bakers. The session will begin at 10:30 am at Nafferton Farm (NE43 7XD), with coffee and tea available from 10:00 am and barbecue lunch is included. Contact Amelia Magistrali for more information and bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org by 25 June.
Taking the threat of coastal storm surges into account
With climate change towns, cities and energy infrastructure in the UK coastal zone are under increasing threat from sea-level rise and intermittent storms. Storm surges are particularly dangerous due to their extreme water level and large waves. Strengthening and raising the height of sea defences is an immediate option, but how do local authorities and other decision makers identify when, where and if to take such actions, and what alternatives can be considered to increase our resilience to climate change? LWEC Policy and Practice Note no 30 draws on the latest research.
Balancing demands for power and carbon reduction targets
Fulfilling UK objective of both ensuring resilient infrastructure is in place to meet future energy needs and the country can meet its carbon emission reduction targets poses challenges. The use of low carbon, renewable energy technologies, such as wind turbines and hydropower, is expected to grow. However, the supply from these technologies may be periodic and irregular while demand for power is increasing. LWEC policy and practice note no 31 looks at the latest research and makes recommendations for decision makers and energy suppliers.
SIP Newsletter: Edition 3 Spring 2016
To hear the latest news and activities from the Sustainable Intensification Platform click here for the Spring 2016 edition. This issue highlights the ongoing work of the SIP community both in individual aspects of research, and in finding new ways of bringing about SI on farm and in the wider landscape. For further information about the project visit: www.siplatform.org.uk or follow on twitter on the @SIPResearch
A vets view
Vet Jonathan Statham calls for more joined up leadership and more creative thinking to ensure the future of our livestock industry and UK food security in our Landbridge blog.
Celebrating 125 years of agricultural research and teaching at Newcastle
The School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Newcastle University is celebrating 125 years of agricultural research and teaching at Newcastle. The first Chair of Agriculture was established in 1891 at what was then the College of Science, (later to become Armstrong College) so this predates the university itself by some considerable margin. In1992, with the establishment of the Centre for Rural Economy, social science was brought into the mix. During the coming academic year they will be celebrating with a series of events and seminars. Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Professor Rob Edwards said: 'On the 125th anniversary of agriculture at Newcastle there are many parallels in the challenges faced by UK farmers then and now: a difficult trading environment, a need for improved productivity and the endless need for change and innovation. The original Department was founded on its links with the industry and, just like our academic forebears, we continue the tradition of conducting research that makes a difference and of training the next generation of farming practitioners. The one difference is that our current approach to training and research extends beyond farming to include agribusiness, the food supply chain and healthy diets, and the links with rural enterprise. With that integrated vision in mind, we look forward to another 125 years of delivering innovation and new skills to the sector.'
Causes of piglet neonatal mortality
Piglet mortality is one of the main issues of concern for the pig industry. Crushing and stillbirths are considered as the most important causes of neonatal mortality. However further research is needed to develop better strategies for reducing piglet deaths by identifying the risk for each cause of mortality, and recognizing individual farm characteristics and their contribution to the problem. In a new report, PROHEALTH researchers have investigated the different causes of piglet neonatal mortality.
Foot health in broiler breeders
In intensive poultry production systems good foot pad health is crucial to ensuring a high level of animal welfare and high production yields. Often foot pad health is seen to decline over the production period and may subsequently result in increased mortality due to septicaemic infections, or a decreased egg production due to pain and discomfort. The most frequently isolated bacteria from these infections are staphylococci and enterococci, which need a port of entry to enter the blood stream and cause disease of the host. PROHEALTH researchers have produced a report on their investigation of the role of foot health in relation to development of disease caused by staphylococcus and enterococcus bacteria in broiler breeders.