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A review of current European research on organic farming (OF0171)

Keatinge, Ray (2000) A review of current European research on organic farming (OF0171). ADAS Consulting Ltd, Redesdale.

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Online at: http://www2.defra.gov.uk/research/Project_Data/More.asp?I=OF0171

Summary

This is the final report of Defra project 0F0171. This text has been extracted from the Executive Summary at the start of the attached report.
In support of its policy to expand organic farming, MAFF sponsors a programme of research and extension (through Organic Conversion Information Service) to provide information to producers on organic systems of production. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive framework which sets out clearly the content and key results of current European research programmes.
The overall objective was to increase the body of knowledge and information available to UK producers and extension workers, and to help direct UK research effort. The priority was to examine northern and western European research programmes i.e. those likely to have the greatest relevance for the UK.
Key research institutions, major projects and individual researchers were identified. The data collected were compiled into two research directories. The first was a list of research organisations containing 137 entries. The second was a project list, containing information on 724 individual research projects, including 88 in the UK.
The results enabled an overview of the range, content and organisation of organic research programmes. Of the European projects listed (excluding the UK), 40% were related to crop production or soil fertility. A further 14% were on fruit or vegetable production, while 19% were related to livestock or grassland. Results from these studies will be relevant to UK researchers planning new work. Valuable insight was also provided into research methodologies and analytical tools used by European researchers, as well as approaches to dissemination and participatory research.
From priorities identified during the compilation of the research directories, three specific study tours were made, focusing on aspects of organic horticulture, arable, and fruit production:
- Weed Control in Organic Horticultural and Arable systems
- Sustainable Nutrient Management in Organic Field Vegetable Production
- Organic Fruit Production.
Two technical workshops were also attended and reported:
- Designing and Testing Crop Rotations for Organic Farming
- Alternatives to the Use of Copper-Based Fungicides in Organic Systems
Study tour reports provide detailed information on issues relevant to the UK, results and direction of each research programme. In addition, technical information was collected for technology transfer to UK producers.
The research directory and study tour reports are now widely accessible, including on the Web at http://www.adas.co.uk/organic. UK producers, processors, retailers, others in the supply chain, and ultimately the consumer will be the main beneficiaries. Key messages and findings have been provided, some for immediate incorporation into existing production systems. The results will be very valuable to MAFF, research institutes, scientists and research workers when considering current and future UK research needs. Contact with European programmes will help improve the efficiency of UK research programmes, avoid unnecessary duplication and refine research methodology. The work will facilitate further contact between European research workers, to formulate collaborative bids and develop additional sources of funding.
It is proposed that the research directories produced by this review are refined and formally updated, on an annual or biennial basis.


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:research projects, institutions, review, europe, knowledge management, methodology, study tours, OF0171
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Research communication and quality
Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication > Technology transfer
Research affiliation: UK > Garden Organic (HDRA)
UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm
UK > ADAS
UK > Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
UK > Univ. Aberystwyth > Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)
Deposited By: Defra, R&D Organic Programme
ID Code:8150
Deposited On:13 Apr 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:33
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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