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Innovative Farmers launches new field lab

  • Countryside
  • Environment

Funded by PWCF, the new field lab - PASTORAL - is the first trial to launch in Innovative Farmers’ 10th anniversary year, where the programme is celebrating the achievements from a decade of enabling farmer-led research. Innovative Farmers is a network coordinated by the Soil Association.

The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF) has awarded over £3.5 million to Soil Association projects, enabling several studies into the impact of soil health on food and wider environment as part of the Innovative Farmers network.

In the 10th anniversary year of Innovative Farmers, a new field lab has been launched which aims to ‘revolutionise’ grass management by using data from space to boost productivity and sustainability. The PASTORAL – Pasture Optimisation for Resilience and Livelihoods – project will connect farmers with digital experts at the University of Edinburgh and consultants at Environment Systems to help monitor pasture growth and quality.

A digital tool will be designed in partnership with farmers and will use advanced algorithms based on satellite data, such as weather information and field images taken from space. This will help to deliver regular updates and predictions to farmers, helping them to improve productivity and sustainability on their grasslands.

Kate Still, livestock advisor for Innovative Farmers and the Soil Association, said:

‘If farmers know more accurately how their pastures are performing, they can develop their business to make even better use of them, delivering more forage for their animals. This increased information on productivity can build confidence to farm more agroecologically, creating healthier soils that can store more carbon and support more wildlife’.

Innovative Farmers is part of the Duchy Future Farming Programme. The network is funded by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund through the sales of Waitrose Duchy Organic products. The Waitrose Duchy Organic brand promotes good food, good farming and good causes.

To learn more about Innovative Farmers, click here.