LEAF’s Blog

If you are inter­est­ed in read­ing more on a range of sub­jects from sus­tain­able farm­ing to tips for farm­ers to prepar­ing for Open Farm Sun­day then make sure you book­mark this page to stay up-to-date.

We’re talk­ing waste – mea­sur­ing, mon­i­tor­ing and mov­ing forward

As WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Pro­gramme) releas­es its ground-break­ing report set­ting out new insights into the scale of sur­plus and food waste on UK farms, Alexan­dra Lear, LEAF Projects Assis­tant, out­lines the oppor­tu­ni­ties it offers to improve effi­cien­cies and deliv­er more sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion through­out the sup­ply chain. 

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Con­tin­u­al Improve­ment in Demonstration

There’s no sub­sti­tute for see­ing things in action. You can be told how some­thing works, explained about the mer­its of a par­tic­u­lar farm­ing prac­tice, extolled the virtues of a smart bit of new tech­nol­o­gy, but it is not until you actu­al­ly see it in prac­tice, in a real-life sit­u­a­tion, that knowl­edge sticks. Based on the idea that farm­ers learn best from oth­er farm­ers and want new ideas, prac­tices and inno­va­tions demon­strat­ed to them where it mat­ters – out in the field – LEAF’s annu­al IFM Field Event aims to boost learn­ing through this sci­ence into prac­tice approach. We talk to LEAF Tech­ni­cal Coor­di­na­tor (Projects), Lau­ra Tip­pin about what makes an effec­tive demon­stra­tion event. 

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Time to Speak Out — trans­form­ing ideas and cham­pi­oning change

On the 24th April, LEAF will be tak­ing to the road for its Speak Out Road­show, vis­it­ing ten loca­tions across the UK offer­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions mas­ter­class­es to farm­ers and researchers. Ahead of the trip, we catch up with Alice Mid­mer, LEAF’s Demon­stra­tion and Inno­va­tion Man­ag­er who shares her thoughts on why, more than ever, it is time to speak out for British farming… 

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An Inter­view with Katy Pal­las, LEAF Edu­ca­tion Region­al Edu­ca­tion Consultant

LEAF Education’s team of Region­al Edu­ca­tion Con­sul­tants (RECs) play a key role out in the regions work­ing with farm­ers, teach­ers, schools and col­leges as well as local busi­ness­es and com­mu­ni­ty ini­tia­tives to inspire young peo­ple about food and farm­ing. Katy Pal­las, LEAF Edu­ca­tion REC for the North West shares her thoughts on why Ag Edu­ca­tion mat­ters and why we need to show­case and cel­e­brate success.

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A Young Researcher On A Mission

LEAF is one of the part­ners in an excit­ing four year Euro­pean project called DIVER­Si­fy explor­ing the ben­e­fits of plant teams’ or inter­crop­ping which basi­cal­ly means grow­ing two or more crops togeth­er, at the same time, in the same space. As well as look­ing at how plant teams can help boost yields and improve sus­tain­abil­i­ty, it is also help­ing to upskill young researchers through its Young Researcher Pro­gram and online Speak Out Toolkit.

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A BASIS Intro­duc­tion to LEAF Mar­que and IFM

Equip­ping farm­ers with the right skills and know-how to farm more sus­tain­ably is a big part of what LEAF does. This April, farm­ers and advis­ers will be head­ing to our two-day LEAF BASIS Intro­duc­tion to IFM’ and LEAF Mar­que train­ing course to get the lat­est think­ing around IFM and an insight into the nuts and bolts of LEAF Mar­que cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Emma Hamer, Senior Plant Health Advis­er at the NFU, attend­ed the course last year and tells us more about how its feed­ing into the cur­rent review of the Vol­un­tary Ini­tia­tives IPM Plan. 

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Diver­si­ty in Arable Farm­ing – The how, the why, the what

On April 9th, LEAF, The Wood­land Trust and The Aller­ton Project are team­ing up to deliv­er an event look­ing at what would tempt an arable farmer to look into grass leys, live­stock and trees and the busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties they could bring. 

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Soil Health: The how, the why and future directions

As part of LEAF’s ten-year plan for the devel­op­ment of LEAF Mar­que, we are focus­ing on soil health. Uni­ver­si­ty of Read­ing, Mas­ters stu­dent, Sam Brook is car­ry­ing out a scop­ing study for LEAF and here he dis­cuss­es the out­comes of the LEAF mem­ber sur­vey and next steps.

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Does LEAF Mar­que deliv­er more sus­tain­able farm­ing? Why Out­comes Matter

Jen­ny Clark, Senior Tech­ni­cal Assis­tant, dis­cuss­es the impor­tance of out­come-based approach­es, why they mat­ter and the ground-break­ing lead LEAF is tak­ing in this area to ensure the LEAF Mar­que Stan­dard con­tin­ues to dri­ve for­ward inno­va­tion, improve­ments and mean­ing­ful changes towards more sus­tain­able farming. 

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Smarter Farm­ing Through Know-how and Networks

The how, what and why of sus­tain­able farm­ing is what LEAF is all about. LEAF is ask­ing some fun­da­men­tal ques­tions around what sus­tain­able farm­ing looks like, how we mea­sure it and why it mat­ters. All these ques­tions (and lots more) deter­mine our objec­tives, shape our ideas and inform our deci­sions. Lau­ra Tip­pin, Tech­ni­cal Assis­tant at LEAF explains how its man­age­ment tools, research, demon­stra­tion and indus­try out­reach activ­i­ties pro­vide the essen­tial start­ing point. 

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Boost­ing Busi­ness Suc­cess through Biodiversity

LEAF is all about putting farm­ers firm­ly in the dri­ving seat to deliv­er more sus­tain­able farm­ing. Our annu­al IFM Event is a big part of this – bring­ing farm­ers, researchers, advi­sors and indus­try experts togeth­er to explore new ideas, high­light inno­va­tions and share inge­nu­ity. LEAF’s IFM Man­ag­er, Alice Mid­mer, tells us more about this year’s event.

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The pow­er of film to demon­strate inno­va­tion and learn­ings on farm

LEAF’s Mar­ket­ing and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ag­er, Simon Bull talks about the impor­tance of farm demon­stra­tion to help dri­ve for­ward knowl­edge gen­er­a­tion and exchange with­in the farm­ing indus­try, in par­tic­u­lar demon­stra­tion, har­ness­ing the pow­er of film.

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Sim­ply Sus­tain­able Biosecurity

This week LEAF will be launch­ing Sim­ply Sus­tain­able Biose­cu­ri­ty, the fourth in our Sim­ply Sus­tain­able series of tech­ni­cal guid­ance book­lets. Ahead of its launch, Senior Tech­ni­cal Assis­tant, Jen­ny Clark, sets out the basics of biose­cu­ri­ty, its impor­tance to sus­tain­abil­i­ty and high­lights LEAF’s grow­ing offer in the live­stock sector. 

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Keep­ing your pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment continuous

LEAF’s IFM Man­ag­er, Alice Mid­mer talks about the impor­tance of farm­ers invest­ing in their own learn­ing to help dri­ve for­ward a more resilient and respon­sive farm­ing industry. 

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PLAID: See­ing is believing

LEAF IFM Man­ag­er, Alice Mid­mer dis­cuss­es the pow­er of farm demon­stra­tion activ­i­ties as a pow­er­ful knowl­edge exchange tool to dri­ve for­ward more sus­tain­able farm­ing. Here she high­lights best prac­tice exam­ples and how LEAF’s involve­ment in the PLAID (Peer to peer learn­ing. Assess­ing Inno­va­tion through Demon­stra­tion) project has the poten­tial to deliv­er great advances in this area. 

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Inter­crop­ping: LEAF Investigates…

Here at LEAF, we are involved with a num­ber of research projects, look­ing at new and inno­v­a­tive Inte­grat­ed Farm Man­age­ment approach­es. One area we, and our Demon­stra­tion Farm­ers, will be look­ing into in more detail is Inter­crop­ping. What is it? Why use it? What chal­lenges does it address and what mix­es to use. LEAF Tech­ni­cal Assis­tant, Lau­ra Tip­pin, explains more…

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LEAF Mar­que deliv­er­ing added val­ue to members

The results of inde­pen­dent research into the added val­ue of LEAF Mar­que cer­ti­fi­ca­tion were released last week. The study, com­mis­sioned by LEAF and car­ried out by CCRI (The Coun­try­side and Com­mu­ni­ty Research Insti­tute), reveals that LEAF Mar­que cer­ti­fi­ca­tion can offer sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial, envi­ron­men­tal and social ben­e­fits for farm busi­ness­es both in the UK and over­seas. Kathryn Green, LEAF Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Man­ag­er, explains more.

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Touch­ing on the Tech­nol­o­gy of Sus­tain­able Farming

On the 25th May 2017, LEAF will hold its sec­ond Inte­grat­ed Farm Man­age­ment (IFM) Con­fer­ence at FERA Sci­ence Ltd, York, kind­ly sup­port­ed by Bay­er. Titled, Tech­nol­o­gy and Pro­gres­sion in IFM, the con­fer­ence will draw on research and demon­stra­tion activ­i­ties of the LEAF Net­work to explore the cur­rent role of tech­nol­o­gy in IFM and how tech­nol­o­gy will shape and progress IFM mov­ing for­wards. We ask Car­o­line Drum­mond, LEAF Chief Exec­u­tive to reflect on the rise of tech­nol­o­gy in farm­ing, how it has shaped the farm­ing land­scape and its future role.

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