ADAS has recently been successful with Innovate UK funding to pursue two exciting new projects to develop digital solutions to support and expand knowledge exchange between farmers, researchers, industry and policy, in light of the challenges brought by the recent pandemic.

Digitising YEN reports

Through the Sustainable Innovation Fund, ADAS has begun a six-month project to develop digital functionalities to support the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN), improve data exchange with growers, and develop ‘Dynamic Benchmarking’. The YEN, since its foundation in 2012, has provided static pdf reports to growers on how their crops have performed within a season, compared to others in the network. Our aim is to enable these comparisons online so that users can choose who they compare themselves to, for instance within a geographic region or for a particular soil type.

We are aiming to make this available for YEN-Nutrition in 2021, and ultimately for YEN-Zero and all the YEN Family.

Developing a farm performance enhancement platform – Farm PEP

ADAS is also leading a multi-collaborative Innovate UK project under ‘Ideas that Address Covid-19’ funding, which focuses on the communication issues around knowledge exchange in agriculture.  Covid-19 has disrupted in-person events, meetings and shows, but has stimulated delivery online through the wider use of videos, webinars, and podcasts. However, the ability for any meaningful two-way conversations via these platforms is limited. Current online resources are fragmented – there is no one place where farmers, practitioners, advisors and researchers can go to find out what is happening in the agricultural research sector, or to tell others about new findings, projects, initiatives, experiences, ideas or best practice, across the industry.

With partners University of Gloucester’s Countryside & Community Research Institute (CCRI), Agri-techEInnovative FarmersThe Farming Forum and Open Coop, this project seeks to engage key players across the industry with two major outputs. The first is to evaluate the impact of Covid19on knowledge exchange in agriculture with a rapid appraisal, due to be published late spring 2021. The second is to co-design a new digital solution we call Farm Performance Enhancement Platform or Farm-PEP. Farm-PEP will connect projects and people, integrating tools and initiatives and providing an online community space for knowledge sharing. We see this as enabling communications between the people engaged in initiatives like the YENs.

YEN Zero

These two Innovate UK projects will support the development of YEN-Zero, which has also been made possible by funding from The Morley Agricultural Foundation, to quantify the greenhouse gas costs of YEN crops since 2013. This analysis will provide a baseline for comparisons and benchmarking of the different elements that make up a farm’s carbon footprint.

We recently discussed the relationships between crop inputs, yields and GHG emissions in the first Agri-techE Agritech Express webinar, which we summarised here.