Optimisation of Cereal Farm Strategies for Mitigating Externalities Associated with Intensive Production

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Collins, A. L. and Zhang, Y. 2022. Optimisation of Cereal Farm Strategies for Mitigating Externalities Associated with Intensive Production. Water. 15 (1), p. 169. https://doi.org/10.3390/w15010169

AuthorsCollins, A. L. and Zhang, Y.
Abstract

Intensive cereal farming results in various unintended consequences for the environment including water pollution. Current uptake of on-farm best management measures in the UK is delivering limited benefits and alternative management futures need to be modelled to make informed decisions. The Farmscoper (FARMSCale Optimization of Pollutant Emission Reductions) tool was used to examine two management scenarios for intensive cereal farms in eastern England. The first was based on increased uptake of those measures currently recommended by advisory visits and following walkover surveys. The second was founded on mechanistic understanding of on-farm pollutant sources embedded in the Farmscoper tool. Optimization of measure selection used a multi-objective genetic algorithm. The technically possible reductions (e.g., 10 to 21% for sediment and 12 to 18% for total phosphorus) of current pollutant emissions to water due to uptake of the mechanistic scenario exceeded those resulting from the current advice scenario (≤5%), but with mixed impacts on costs ranging from a saving of £34.8/ha/yr to an increase of £19.0/ha/yr, relative to current best management costs. The current advice scenario generated corresponding cost savings of between £30.4/ha/yr and £73.40/ha/yr. Neither scenario is sufficiently impactful on unintended consequences, pointing to the need for structural change in land cover.

KeywordsCereal farming; Pollution; Mitigation; Trade-offs
Year of Publication2022
JournalWater
Journal citation15 (1), p. 169
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/w15010169
Web address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/15/1/169
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online31 Dec 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted29 Dec 2022
PublisherMDPI
ISSN2073-4441

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