AERU AGRICULTURE & ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH UNIT
 

Case studies

Pollutant fate

  • FOOTPRINT: This research project is part of the 6th Framework Programme, and has developed a suite of three pesticide risk prediction and management tools, for use at different scales. AERU have developed the farm-scale tool FOOT-FS, which aims to assist in the development of environmentally sound pesticide strategies by identifying the activities and pathways that most contribute to the contamination of water resources, and providing advice on mitigation.
  • Nutrient budgeting: AERU have developed a nutrient budgeting system for use on UK farms. This can be used to model the input and fate of nutrients, and was initially developed for the Ythan Project in Scotland, although a more generally applicable version is available through the EMA software, and has been used by AERU on other projects.
  • p-EMA: This project developed a risk based tool for the assessment and evaluation of farm pesticide use. The methodology developed was based on regulatory risk assessment methods and these were adapted to make them responsive to the local site and farming practices as far as current scientific understanding allows.

Whole systems modelling

  • Climate change mitigation potential of farms in the EU: This is a major new EU project in which AERU is leading a team of researchers from seven countries, focusing on the GHG emission and carbon sequestration potential of major farm types around Europe. It is hoped to develop a tentative model for integrated whole farm assessment, with the aim of encouraging farm practices that minimise emissions and maximise sequestration.
  • Impact of proposed NVZ Action Programme measures on GHG emissions: The purpose of the project was to assess the impact of proposed NVZ Action Programme measures on greenhouse gas emissions. It was carried out as part of the Full Impact Assessment for the proposed legislation, and looked at the impact of each of the proposed measures on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the overall impact of the legislation.
  • Climate change mitigation effects of Environmental Stewardship: This project adopted a Life Cycle Analysis approach to quantify net GHG emission for each management option and calculate a Global Warming Potential balance to enable the current contribution each makes towards global warming to be identified.
  • GREENERGY: This project examined the energy consumption characteristics of European glasshouse production systems, and produced a tool for auditing energy efficiency in greenhouses, a set of technical improvement measures and a guideline for the optimisation of energy consumption.
  • Sustainability of the UK strawberry crop: This project, carried out in collaboration with East Malling Research and industry, applied current state-of-the-art environmental impact, economic and social impact assessment techniques to a range of strawberry production scenarios to develop a better understanding of the sustainability of the UK crop.
  • Environment and energy impact assessment for sugar beet production systems: This project evaluated the environmental impact and economic viability of a range of sugar beet production systems in the UK. It allowed a ‘sustainability’ profile for each of the 13 scenarios to be constructed enabling them to be compared in terms of their environmental and economic performance.
  • Development of an organic conversion planning tool: AERU and the Institute of Rural Studies at the University of Wales Aberystwyth developed this software, known as OrgPlan, in collaboration with Rothamsted, SAC (The Scottish Agricultural College) and Elm Farm Research Centre.

Software development

  • FOOTPRINT: This research project is part of the 6th Framework Programme, and has developed a suite of three pesticide risk prediction and management tools, for use at different scales. AERU have developed the farm-scale tool FOOT-FS, which aims to assist in the development of environmentally sound pesticide strategies by identifying the activities and pathways that most contribute to the contamination of water resources, and providing advice on mitigation.
  • GREENERGY: This project examined the energy consumption characteristics of European glasshouse production systems, and produced a tool for auditing energy efficiency in greenhouses, a set of technical improvement measures and a guideline for the optimisation of energy consumption.
  • Planning Your Entry Level Stewardship Application: On behalf of the RSPB, AERU developed this simple package that allows farmers to formulate an Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) strategy that is of maximum benefit to farmland biodiversity. It assists the user to select a series of management options that will suit a particular farm type, and bird species and other wildlife of particular significance. As a result, the points requirement of the farm can be met, whilst making a valuable contribution to the preservation and encouragement of our rural wildlife heritage.
  • OrgPlan: AERU and the Institute of Rural Studies at the University of Wales Aberystwyth developed this organic conversion planning tool, in collaboration with Rothamsted, SAC (The Scottish Agricultural College) and Elm Farm Research Centre.
  • Environmental Management for Agriculture (EMA): This is an award winning computer software package that provides a comprehensive suite of tools, information and assessment routines designed to help the farming industry improve its environmental performance. The software is for the 'public good' and aims to help develop a more sustainable agriculture.

Data services

  • PPDB: The PPDB (Pesticide Properties DataBase) is a comprehensive relational database of pesticide physicochemical and ecotoxicological data, developed by AERU with additional input from the EU-funded FOOTPRINT project. It is freely available online, and can be purchased in MS Access format for inclusion in research projects and regulatory assessments.

Full details of these and other relevant projects can be found in our Projects section.

University of Hertfordshire
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University of Hertfordshire, 2017.