Innovative Farmers was established in 2012 by the Soil Association with the aim of bringing scientific rigour to on-farm trials co-designed by farmers and researchers. With a focus on sustainability and resilience groups come together on discrete topics and trials range from six months in duration.

 

Primarily funded by The Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund the network has a grants programme to cover up to £10k of the trial costs and organises a programme of events and knowledge exchange activities over the year. To join the network or share an idea for a field lab contact the team or follow us on twitter @IFarmers

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The Farmer-Led Innovation Network (FLIN) are UK based organisations driving farmer-led innovation - working together to power up and increase the impact of farmer led innovation initiatives.

Farm-centric research generally involves On-Farm Experimentation and may be better described as 'Farm Action Research', i.e. research conducted at least in part by and for beneficiaries who also farm. 

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The initial Farm-PEP project funded under the Innovate UK competition 'UKRI Ideas to address Covid-19'.  ADAS led  consortium to assess the impact of Covid-19 on knowledge exchange in agriculture, and to develop the Farm-PEP web solution at www.farmpep.net. The initial Farm-PEP project began in January 2021 and runs to February 2022.

The ideas behind Farm-PEP came together in ~2018, drawing from the developments of Agronomics, the YENs, AHDB's Monitor Farm programme and the idea of a 'What Works' Centre for Agriculture. 

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Pasture Optimisation for Resilience and Livelihoods (PASTORAL) will work with farmers to co-design a new digital platform to help improve data to inform on-farm decision making to increase farm productivity and carbon efficiency using satellite data to plan pasture management.    

Inferring the right conclusions from field trials is important - how confident can you be that a result is 'real' rather than due to the underlying noise? As part of the Farm-PEP FIP project we are working with BGS to explore the best ways to communicate confidence, uncertainty, significance, probability and value with farmers and growers.

The development of Farm-PEP Performance Enhancement Partnerships to support on-farm knowledge generation through shared ideas, data and experimentation. Funded as part of Farming Innovation Pathways programme from Defra and Innovate UK Transforming Food Production.

Farmer Innovation Group as part of YEN Yield Testing project on achieving Deeper Rooting. Encouragement of deep burrowing earthworms might enhance yields by enabling deeper rooting, and capture of more sub-soil water.

Network of farmers advisors and researchers working together, sharing ideas and data and testing solutions to increase soil carbon

Investigating defoliation as a control for cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) larval populations in oilseed rape. Field lab looking at the potential for controlling cabbage stem flea beetle by mowing and grazing OSR crops

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This Field Lab explores the impact of grazing sheep on over-winter cover crops on soil properties, crop performance and the management of livestock within an arable rotation.

Group coming out of the YEN looking at ways to increase deep rooting, by encouraging deep burrowing earthworms.

This field lab's objective is to investigate the potential of living mulches, creating a permanent clover understory to suppress weeds, cycle nutrients, protect and enhance soil health, as a means to achieving organic and low-input no-till systems - that can be more sustainable than those systems they seek to replace.

Devon silvopasture 12-year on-farm trial including site at Rothamsted's North Wyke

This field lab was initiated as part of the ADAS project ‘Investigating the distribution and presence, and potential for herbicide resistance of UK brome species in arable farming’, funded by AHDB.  

A group of farmers are collaborating to run a 12 year multi-partner project in Devon. Focusing on the establishment and benefits of silvopasture systems the project includes research on carbon sequestration, biodiversity and animal health and welfare. This comment includes information from Innovative Farmers on the selected planting design and considerations for layout, species selection and cost implications. https://innovativefarmers.org/field-lab?id=970ecd7a-5b61-eb11-8192-005056ad0bd4

A group of farmers is investigating with Harper Adams University how trap crops such as sticky and African nightshade can be used as a biological management practice.

A trial site in Suffolk investigated a range of management techniques, including time of sowing f