The main aim of the Organic Food Quality project is to collect and analyse data from published composition comparisons of organic and conventional foods using state-of-the-art meta-analysis approaches.
Improving nutrient use efficiency in major European food, feed and biofuel crops to reduct negative environmental impacts of crop production – EU-FP7 222-645 (2009 – 2014).
The LowInputBreeds project is hoping to identify and in some cases create robust breeds and cross bred animals able to remain healthy with low intensity inputs.
N-TOOLBOXis a new European Union FP7 project that addresses the challenges of implementing the Nitrates Directive throughout Europe at the farm level. The project aims to develop a “Toolbox of cost-effective strategies for on-farm reductions in N losses to water”.
The Integrated Project QualityLowInputFood aims to improve quality, ensure safety and reduce cost along the organic and “low input” food supply chains through research, dissemination and training activities.
Better Organic Bread (BOB) is a LINK project with 16 partners, led by Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association, funded by Defra from October 2005 to June 2010. Field trials managed by Nafferton Ecological Farming Group, Newcastle University, are integrated with milling and baking evaluations to identify optimal manufacturing conditions for UK produced organic bread.
Other research projects that NEFG is involved in
The productivity of European and global agriculture has been vastly improved through focussing on a relatively small number of crop species (for cereals grown in Europe mainly on common wheat and barley) bred for high yields, and dependent on large inputs of mineral fertilizers. However, this strategy has left agriculture with a reduced genetic variation and diversity which makes crops more vulnerable to biotic and abiotic stresses, and high inputs of fertilizers and energy lead to environmental damage.
In comparison to conventional common wheat, minor cereals typically grow well in poor soils or under low input conditions, and have retained far greater concentration of micronutrients that have been bred out of common wheat. They are hence valued highly by both producers and consumers of organic foods, and increasingly also by conventional farmers.
Nafferton Farm is one of the DEFRA-funded Sustainable Intensification Platform (SIP) study farms. The platform is designed to explore ‘the opportunities and risks of Sustainable Intensification from a range of perspectives and landscape scales across England and Wales.’ The SIP defines sustainable intensification as ‘managing farmland to increase farm output and competitiveness, whilst protecting the countryside and enhancing environment and social benefits’ and the platform includes collaboration between 36 partners representing a wide range of interest groups.
The overall goals of the project Reduced tillage and green manures for sustainable organic cropping systems – TILMAN-ORG are to design improved organic cropping systems with: enhanced productivity and nutrient use efficiency, more efficient weed management and increased biodiversity, but lower carbon footprints. The project is funded in the framework of CORE Organic II.
Robust and competitive organic pig production needs to encompass low environmental impacts and good animal health and welfare. In theory, improving animal health and welfare reduces environmental impacts through decreased medicine use, improved growth rates and feed conversion efficiency. However, as data on environmental impacts are scarce, the extent of such improvement has never been verified on working farms. In organic pig production, health and welfare improvements must be implemented through preventive approaches, optimal disease management and innovative systems regarding outdoor areas.
Organic farming systems rely on the efficient use and recycling of available resources, however current P balances indicate a decline in plant available soil P. This suggests that current practice is not sustainable in the long-term. This project will assess current knowledge on P management in organic farming and availability of alternative P fertilizers (APFs) in the 6 partner countries (Austria, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, UK and Denmark). The project’s overall aim is to help organic farmers realise the benefits of improved P cycling at a regional scale in full accordance with the goals of organic farming.