Agricultural production worldwide faces huge challenges to achieve the UN Sustainability Development Goals and international agreements with respect to environment (depletion of scarce resources, global warming, acidification, eutrophication, nutrient losses, and biodiversity loss), labour (availability of skilled workers), and society (consumer/societal acceptance of production methods and novel technology). Further optimization of current farming practices with precision agriculture (PA) and precision livestock farming (PLF) technologies will not be sufficient to meet these challenges.
A paradigm shift is required for the next-generation agricultural production systems that are sustainable, circular and regenerative.
In this concept, called Technology for Ecology-based Farming, biological and ecological principles in farming are leading in the development of new farming systems, and by that the required technological knowledge, principles and tools. Instead of opposing high tech to nature-based production, we explore how current and future farming technologies can enable and support truly ecology-based farming systems. In this we combine expertise in the field of biology, ecology, agronomy and technology.
In our research proposals we defined the following four principles for ecology-based solutions and strategies:
Our programme consists of two closely related multi-year projects: