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Stackyard News May 08

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    Sustainable Farming Evidence At Your Fingertips

LEAF’s IFM Database, which provides clear evidence of the economic, environmental, social and biodiversity benefits of Integrated Farm Management (IFM), has been updated to include summaries of papers from around the world.



Speaking on the development, LEAF’s Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond said:

“Since its launch in 2003, the IFM Database has played an important role in providing evidence to support the case for IFM. The updated on-line database draws on over a hundred research studies from around the world including Europe, Nigeria, India, Australia, Malaysia, California and China to show the economic, environmental, social and biodiversity benefits of Integrated Farming. All sorts of people use the on-line database including farmers, advisers, the media, research scientists and students. Now, the latest findings from key research work, journals, conferences and books have been added to provide a powerful resource for anyone wanting to know more about Integrated Farming in a global context.”

The IFM Database, which is accessed via the LEAF website, offers information on all areas of Integrated Farming at the click of a mouse. Latest updates include research carried out in 2004 in Malaysia which resulted in tangible benefits being recognised by farmers and the public of how IFM sustains rural viability and social stability. Another paper from the International Society for Horticultural Science, showed that farmers carrying out IFM reported water savings of up to 25% because of better water and nutrient efficiency.

Users can search the database for summaries and abstracts of key IFM research projects, conference notes, books, journals, farming press and a host of other information sources. Users can also search by author, title, key words, browse alphabetically or by DEFRA's sustainable indicators.

“The farming industry must continue to adapt” continued Caroline Drummond. “LEAF’s IFM Database, with its updated information and search functions gives clear evidence of the measurable benefits of IFM and how farmers who are practising IFM are addressing economic, social and environmental concerns.”

“This is a fantastic resource” added Professor Keith Goulding, Head of the Soil Science Department at Rothamsted Research. “Anyone wanting to know more about the benefits of IFM and how it responds to current food and farming concerns has this information at their fingertips. And now with the updated information and added links, I see it being used much wider throughout the industry.”

Dr Richard Baines, Principal Lecturer in Management Systems for Food Safety and the Environment at the Royal Agricultural College, whose students helped in the updating of the database, concluded:

“The principles of IFM are universal as demonstrated by the global nature of the papers reviewed. More importantly, this database is providing farmers and students of integrated farming with a common language to understand these principles and to then apply them in their own countries. The continued development of this resource can only serve to internationalise LEAF for the benefit of all.”

The IFM Database is an ongoing development and will be regularly updated to take account of new research evidence and developments in technology. It will serve to identify gaps in knowledge and drive forward future IFM research.

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