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Evaluating local foraging resources in Italy using remote sensing and productivity modelling. In the Italian Alps, the use of mountain pastures and traditional pastoral methods is on the decline. Researchers at the University of Milan are studying traditional alpine pastoralism and investigating

Researchers have assessed the carbon footprints of dairy farms in 5 European countries. Farm management practices explained up to 79% of the variation in carbon footprints, which implies potential for lowering emissions. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was used to calculate the

Pasture can reduce carbon footprint from sheep production by almost one third. Transhumant sheep systems, both by foot and lorry, achieve relatively low carbon footprint, compared to sedentary farms. Mobility of grazing livestock can thus be considered as a strategy to promote

Circular pasture-based dairy production. On the Solohead Research Farm in Ireland, Teagasc Livestock Systems are testing systems of pasture-based dairy production with minimal external inputs, and as much internal circularity as possible.    Solohead Farm is a hub in a network of

Evaluating local foraging resources in Italy using remote sensing and productivity modelling. In the Italian Alps, the use of mountain pastures and traditional pastoral methods is on the decline. Researchers at the University of Milan are studying traditional alpine pastoralism and investigating

Researchers have assessed the carbon footprints of dairy farms in 5 European countries. Farm management practices explained up to 79% of the variation in carbon footprints, which implies potential for lowering emissions. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was used to calculate the

Pasture can reduce carbon footprint from sheep production by almost one third. Transhumant sheep systems, both by foot and lorry, achieve relatively low carbon footprint, compared to sedentary farms. Mobility of grazing livestock can thus be considered as a strategy to promote

Circular pasture-based dairy production. On the Solohead Research Farm in Ireland, Teagasc Livestock Systems are testing systems of pasture-based dairy production with minimal external inputs, and as much internal circularity as possible.    Solohead Farm is a hub in a network of

Cows eating left-overs from bakery products may produce more sustainable milk

Bakery by-product used in trial.

An Italian case study shows promising results for adding bakery by-products as a feed ingredient to lactating cows’ diet. Preliminary results indicate that this may increase milk production and lower global warming potential on farm level. 

So far, the most promising result was seen in a farm that changed from a standard diet to a circular one, including bakery by-products. The cows in this case study farm were fed bakery by-products (former food) in their diets as energy source. The researchers concluded that the circular diet seemed to be more sustainable, in terms of global warming potential (GWP) related to milk production. They calculated the impact both per kilogram fat and protein corrected milk and per individual daily diet, using Life Cycle Assessment approach (LCA).    

 

Two workshops with Norwegian farmers about circular agriculture

Circular agriculture involves strategies for better utilization of resources and nutrients, reduced use of external inputs, and replacing fossil energy with renewable energy. What do farmers perceive as barriers, possibilities, and solutions to circular agriculture? 

The primary findings were:

– A healthy farm economy is esseintial to introducing new circular practices.

– The farmers want to find the best solutions tailored to their own farm.

– It is important to recognize the farmers knowledge and efforts.

– There is a demand for more holistic policy instruments and support.

– It is necessary to recognize dilemmas between conflicting climate and environmental considerations.

 

Summary of UK workshops with industry, policy representatives, and farmers

Dialogue with stakeholders is an important part of the CircAgric-GHG project. Project partner Bangor University have arranged two online workshops with industry and policy representatives, and interviews (online and on-farm) with farmers. Opportunities and barriers to adopting circular practices in UK agriculture were explored, and key factors influencing farmers’ decision-making towards adoption were revealed. Stakeholders shared a positive perception and clear understanding of the concept of circularity, but awareness of the term was lacking. Targeted and trusted advisory support was desired by farmers, whilst they saw incentivisation through future government payment schemes as a key enabler. Regulation was perceived as a major barrier, such as limits on the quantity and timing of manure application, planning permission for renewable energy projects, and use of alternative feed ingredients (e.g., food waste streams). Nevertheless, positive reframing of government policy to include circularity as a major net zero strategy, whilst raising awareness and communicating the benefits of circular practices, will likely enhance its adoption. PhD Researcher Ffion Evans made this figure to summarize the findings.

Read more about the UK workshops in this brief research summary report. 

Mid-term project meeting in Galway, Ireland, 4-7.9.2023

CircAgric held our mid-term project meeting in Galway, Ireland. During the meeting, we visited a dairy farm that is part of the project to James Humphreys, Teagasc. James is following 20+ farms to introduce and include circular practices. The farm we visited has very few inputs and focus more on milk solids than milk yield in litres per cow. The around 300 cows are grazing all year round on pastures with high inclusion of clover.  

Photos: Vibeke Lind, David Styles and James Gibbons.

Measurements of methane and CO2 from the barn at NIBIO Tjøtta

In CircAgric-GHG, researchers use drones with advanced measurement equipment to try to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from various sources on the ground. In August 2023, Norbert Pirk and Alouette van Hove from the University of Oslo(UiO) visited NIBIO Tjøtta. They used drones that measure methane and CO2 respectively at a height of about 20 metres above the barn, which houses between 60-70 cows. In addition, wind strength and wind direction were measured by suspending equipment in a so-called flux tower near the barn. If, for example, it is very windy, this must be calculated in, as the uncertainty in the measurements becomes greater. The measurements from the air can be compared with measurements of individual emissions from the cows inside the barn. This makes it possible to check whether the measurements in the air appear to be correct. This is groundbreaking work, and the big question is whether it is possible to measure emissions in this way, or whether it is still necessary to measure at the individual level. The researchers from UiO will also test the method in Germany, and hopefully in Kenya.

Photos: Vibeke Lind/project team

Drones that measure methane and CO2 respectively at a height of about 20 metres above the barn, which houses between 60-70 cows, at NIBIO Tjøtta, august 2023.

Circular Agriculture to improve sustainable food production

Circular agriculture aims to reduce external inputs to farms whilst maintaining production and profit. In the past mixed crop livestock farming, a system that grows crops and raise livestock on the same farm, was common. However, driven by economy competitiveness and agricultural policy, production has become more specialized and less connected. This video summarize how circular agriculture can improve sustainable productions compared to more intensive farming systems.

Video: Ffion Evans

Drones that will be used to measure climate gas emissions from ruminants

Norbert Pirk, researcher at Universitetet i Oslo (UiO), demonstrates which drones they have available and plan to use in CircAgric-GHG. The project will use various remote sensing technologies to detect CH4 and CO2 fluxes from landscapes and animals.

Video: Anette Tjomsland Spilling

Kick off meeting in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, 10-12.05.22

Photos: Vibeke Lind and Clemens Scheer

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Europeiske og afrikanske bønder skal lære hverandre å bli mer miljøvennlige

Forskere fra åtte land skal undersøke hva europeiske og afrikanske bønder kan lære av hverandre. Prosjektet CircAgric-GHG skal gi økt kunnskap om resirkulering og smart ressursbruk, samt metoder for å redusere klimagassutslipp fra gårder og beite.

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