Ideas wanted for new Field Labs
Soil Association are looking for new Field Lab ideas to test new farming approaches, share best practice and solve problems.
Field Labs bring agricultural research directly to the field and the shed, bringing farmers and growers together with a researcher and a dedicated facilitator to focus on your own research questions. Field Labs in Scotland are free to attend and open to all farmers and growers, not just organic ones.
Field Labs bring farmers and growers together with a researcher and facilitator to focus on research questions posed by the farmer. You will meet as a group up to four times during the trial to track progress and compare notes. The aims are to work out effective practical approaches to tackling real problems in sustainable farming, learn how to do more effective DIY trials and identify gaps where academic research could make a crucial difference. The major difference between a field lab and an advisory meeting or farm walk is that you will be directly testing solutions rather than just discussing the issues or relying on off-the-peg answers.
If you have an idea for a Field Lab, or want to look at something from a different perspective, get in touch with Soil Association Scotland by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soil Association Scotland have also just started looking at a reduced tillage Field Lab, where they will measure its impact on soil health, as well as on weeds and yield. If you are interested in this Field Lab contact Soil Association Scotland.
The following Field Lab ideas have come from producers and the industry:
Cobalt: for soil, plants, and livestock – this field lab will investigate cobalt’s relationship with soil health, forage production, and livestock productivity
Nutrition around calving – this field lab will investigate if a few changes to winter rations can improve your system
Profitable use of forage – this field lab will investigate what is the best strategy for silage production; evaluating different strategies in terms of costs and benefits by looking at livestock performance
Visit the Soil Association Scotland website for more information on these.
If you would like to be involved in any of the Field Labs listed above, or have an idea you want to test, get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
Funding for Field Labs is provided through the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme, and covers the time of the researchers and facilitators who often come from respected institutions including SRUC, Newcastle University, and Zero Waste Scotland and always have practical experience and a hands-on approach.