Volume 1, Issue 1 (2015)



Papers published:


doi: 10.12924/of2014.01010001 | Volume 1 (2015) | Issue 1
Thomas Felix Döring
Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
Views 2217
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Publication Date: 13 December 2013
Abstract: Over the past few decades the area of farmland underorganic management has significantly and continuously increased  [1]. This trend, observed across all continents, has been accompanied by a strong expansion of the market for organically produced goods, and a substantial increase of organic farming research efforts, funded through national and international programmes. At the same time, with the tremendous expansion of organic agriculture and food systems the organic sector has experienced a remarkable diversification and it is therefore essential to conduct research in, and find practical solutions for, an increasing diversity of organic farming systems across the globe.

doi: 10.12924/of2015.01010003 | Volume 1 (2015) | Issue 1
Birge M. Wolf 1, * , Anna-Maria Häring 2 and Jürgen Heß 1
1 University of Kassel, Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, Organic Farming & Cropping Systems, Nordbahnhofstr. 1a, 37214 Witzenhausen, Germany
2 Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Department Policy and Markets in the Agro-Food Sector, Schicklerstr. 5, 16225 Eberswalde, Germany
* Corresponding author
Views 2679
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Publication Date: 15 April 2015
Abstract: Various research fields, like organic agricultural research, are dedicated to solving real-world problems and contributing to sustainable development. Therefore, systems research and the application of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches are increasingly endorsed. However, research performance depends not only on self-conception, but also on framework conditions of the scientific system, which are not always of benefit to such research fields. Recently, science and its framework conditions have been under increasing scrutiny as regards their ability to serve societal benefit. This provides opportunities for (organic) agricultural research to engage in the development of a research system that will serve its needs. This article focuses on possible strategies for facilitating a balanced research evaluation that recognises scientific quality as well as societal relevance and applicability. These strategies are (a) to strengthen the general support for evaluation beyond scientific impact, and (b) to provide accessible data for such evaluations. Synergies of interest are found between open access movements and research communities focusing on global challenges and sustainability. As both are committed to increasing the societal benefit of science, they may support evaluation criteria such as knowledge production and dissemination tailored to societal needs, and the use of open access. Additional synergies exist between all those who scrutinise current research evaluation systems for their ability to serve scientific quality, which is also a precondition for societal benefit. Here, digital communication technologies provide opportunities to increase effectiveness, transparency, fairness and plurality in the dissemination of scientific results, quality assurance and reputation. Furthermore, funders may support transdisciplinary approaches and open access and improve data availability for evaluation beyond scientific impact. If they begin to use current research information systems that include societal impact data while reducing the requirements for narrative reports, documentation burdens on researchers may be relieved, with the funders themselves acting as data providers for researchers, institutions and tailored dissemination beyond academia.

doi: 10.12924/of2015.01010019 | Volume 1 (2015) | Issue 1
Joshua M. Pearce 1, 2
1 Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Michigan Technological University, MI, USA
2 Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, MI, USA
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Publication Date: 16 April 2015
Abstract: There is growing evidence that low-cost open-source 3-D printers can reduce costs by enabling distributed manufacturing of substitutes for both specialty equipment and conventional mass-manufactured products. The rate of 3-D printable designs under open licenses is growing exponentially and there arealready hundreds of designs applicable to small-scale organic farming. It has also been hypothesized that this technology could assist sustainable development in rural communities that rely on small-scale organic agriculture. To gauge the present utility of open-source 3-D printers in this organic farm context both in the developed and developing world, this paper reviews the current open-source designs available and evaluates the ability of low-cost 3-D printers to be effective at reducing the economic costs of farming.This study limits the evaluation of open-source 3-D printers to only the most-developed fused filament fabrication of the bioplastic polylactic acid (PLA). PLA is a strong biodegradable and recyclable thermoplastic appropriate for a range of representative products, which are grouped into five categories of prints: handtools, food processing, animal management, water management and hydroponics. The advantages and shortcomings of applying 3-D printing to each technology are evaluated. The results show a general izabletechnical viability and economic benefit to adopting open-source 3-D printing for any of the technologies, although the individual economic impact is highly dependent on needs and frequency of use on a specific farm. Capital costs of a 3-D printer may be saved from on-farm printing of a single advanced analytical instrument in a day or replacing hundreds of inexpensive products over a year. In order for the full potential of open-source 3-D printing to be realized to assist organic farm economic resiliency and self-sufficiency, future work is outlined in five core areas: designs of 3-D printable objects, 3-D printing materials, 3-Dprinters, software and 3-D printable repositories.

doi: 10.12924/of2015.01010036 | Volume 1 (2015) | Issue 1
Jack B. Spaapen
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, PO Box 19121, 1000 GC Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Views 1193
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Publication Date: 23 April 2015
Abstract: Changes in the production of research (more collaborative, more inter- and transdisciplinary, more oriented towards societal demand) are influencing the ways in which research is evaluated. Traditional methods of evaluation primarily focussing on the production of scientific articles have long since given way to more comprehensive methods in which researchers’ other activities are assessed too. Beyond these developments, evaluation also involves research endeavours concerning collaboration with other stakeholders in society, such as industry, NGO’s, consumer groups, or governmental organisations.

doi: 10.12924/of2015.01010038 | Volume 1 (2015) | Issue 1
Catherine L. Gerrard 1, * , Jo Smith 1 , Rebecca Nelder 1 , Ashleigh Bright 2 , Mike Colley 2 , Ruth Clements 2 and Bruce D. Pearce 1
1 The Organic Research Centre Elm Farm Hamstead Marshall, UK
2 FAI Farms The John Krebbs Field Station Wytham, Oxford, UK
* Corresponding author
Views 2351
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Publication Date: 7 May 2015
Abstract: Current EU regulations allow 5% of feed for organic poultry to come from non-organic production. This is due to concerns about a 100% organic diet meeting the requirements for specific amino acids such as methionine. This exception is due to end on 31st December 2017. While this may match consumer expectations, protein sourced from global organic production may have a negative impact on perceptions of organic poultry in other ways. Soybean is a commonly used ingredient in poultry feed but soybean production has negative environmental and social impacts. Consumers may also prefer organic poultry to have been fed on locally produced feed and, indeed, this would be in line with organic principles. Preliminary feasibility feed trials were carried out during a summer and a winter season using organic broilers in the UK to test three 100% organic feeds: a control diet with globally sourced ingredients including soybean expeller, a diet based on locally sourced (i.e. within Europe) organic ingredients, and a diet based on locally sourced organic ingredients and algae (a good source of methionine). The results of the summer feed trial showed that there were no significant differences in broiler weight gains. In the winter feed trial differences were found. There was a significant difference (P = 0.034) in weight gain between the local feed (lower weight gain) and the local feed with algae but no significant difference between the control diet with soybean and the two local diets. These preliminary feed trials indicate that there is no significant impact on broiler performance or animal welfare parameters when replacing soybean with European protein sources, possibly including algae, suggesting that, although the research is still at a very early stage, such feeds may be a viable option for 100% organic poultry feed in the future.

doi: 10.12924/of2015.01010046 | Volume 1 (2015) | Issue 1
Marco Pautasso
Animal & Plant Health Unit, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Views 1490
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Publication Date: 7 October 2015
Abstract: This brilliant and original book by Jan Zadoks, a renowned, prolific and polyglot Dutch plant epidemiologist [2], provides a systematic, learned and well-structured overview of our understanding of medieval crop protection in Europe.

doi: 10.12924/of2015.01010050 | Volume 1 (2015) | Issue 1
Ruth C. Clements 1, * , Laura E. Higham 1 , Jo Smith 2 , Catherine L. Gerrard 2 , Mike C. Colley 1 , Konstantinos Zaralis 2 , Rebecca Nelder 2 , Bruce Pearce 2 , Annie Rayner 1 and Ashleigh Bright 1
1 FAI Farms Ltd, The Field Station, Wytham, Oxford, UK
2 The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm, Hamstead Marshall, UK
* Corresponding author
Views 1563
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Publication Date: 5 November 2015
Abstract: Current regulations for organic pig and poultry production systems permit feed ingredients of non-organic origin at an inclusion rate of up to 5 per cent. This is primarily due to concerns that there is an insufficient supply of organic protein on the European Union market, in terms of quality and quantity, to meet the nutritional requirements of pigs and poultry raised on organic farms. However, 100 per cent organic diets for monogastric livestock will become compulsory in the EU from 1 January 2018, and there is therefore a need to develop sustainable feeding strategies based on organic feeds. This feed trial conducted in the UK explores the feasibility of using a silage-based feeding system for Gloucester Old Spot pigs, and compares the inclusion of soya, beans and peas as protein sources in terms of pig growth performance. No significant difference in the pen mean daily live weight gain was observed during the grower phase (pen mean age of 11-14 weeks) between the diet groups. However, during the finisher phase (pen mean age of 15-22 weeks), pigs on the soya and pea rations had significantly faster growth rates than pigs fed the bean ration. It is speculated that the slight shortfall in growth rate observed in the pigs fed the bean ration may be offset by the lower cost of production of beans in the UK. This feasibility trial demonstrates that a 100 per cent organic diet for pigs using alternative, locally-grown sources of protein as part of a forage-based ration can provide a viable alternative to a soya-based diet.

ISSN: 2297-6485
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