Towards more nutrient, carbon and energy-efficient agricultural systems

Les Firbank – Project Lead (Leeds)
Jonathan Leake (Sheffield)
Sue Hartley (York)

The overall aim of the project was to pump-prime collaborative agricultural systems research among the White Rose Universities, leading to the submission of at least one major collaborative grant proposal on increasing nutrient, carbon and energy-efficiency in agriculture.

Prof Les Firbank (Leeds) lead this project which built an interdisciplinary network to develop more nutrient, carbon and energy-efficient agricultural systems, focussed on Spen Farm, a large mixed farm owned by Leeds University. The project would thereby assemble one of the few teams with the multidisciplinary expertise and systems approach needed to deliver more resource-efficient agricultural systems, but in so doing will develop the capacity to address the key priorities of the Research Councils in the areas of food security, low carbon and energy-efficient futures. We proposed to conduct a baseline study of Spen Farm to provide critical supporting data and establish effective partnerships to enable successful grant applications. Spen Farm is an ideal research site, being conveniently located, providing a wide range of soil types and crops, a diverse range of past and ongoing research, and the infrastructure to support large-scale experiments.