OK-Net Arable project started in March 2015 and will run until February 2018. OK-Net Arable takes a very innovative approach in that in all stages of the project, farmers play a prominent role contribute to a process of co-creation of knowledge throughout the project. This work is facilitated by the participation of 14 farmer innovation groups.
The complexity of organic farming requires farmers to have a very high level of knowledge and skills. But exchange on organic farming techniques remains limited.
OK-Net Arable aims at filling the gap in the exchange of information between farmers across Europe.
OK-Net Arable is one of the first four so-called thematic networks funded under the umbrella of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI). This policy instrument aims to foster innovation by connecting farmers and researchers.
OK-Net Arable platform (part of the OK-Net Arable project) is a web-based platform to promote exchange of knowledge among farmers, farm advisers and scientists. The platform is coordinated by IFOAM EU and involves 17 partners from 12 countries throughout Europe.
Farmer’s needs were taken into account at every stage of development of this platform. OK-Net Arable brought together the common challenges identified by the groups in this report. Data from the farmer innovation groups show a wide range of crop yields. This indicates there is need, but also a clear possibility to improve farm yields.
The project has chosen approximately 100 dedicated keywords that are relevant for the scope of the platform. Most are chosen from the database of keywords, that EIP-AGRI has collected and translated to 10 european languages. The solutions presented on the platform are divided according to the most relevant topics in organic arable farming:
- Soil quality and fertility
- Nutrient management
- Pest and disease control
- Weed management
- Solutions for specific crops
To help improve exchange of knowledge among farmers, they not only can find solutions and engage with others via this platform, they can also propose solutions, discuss how they work on the field, in their geographic and climatic conditions. This should enable farmers and farm associations to give feedback on the solutions, improve them and, in the end, to increase productivity and quality in organic arable cropping.
To help improve productivity, the OK-Net Arable platform provides free access to a wide range of tools and resources.
SURVEY FOR ORGANIC FARM ADVISORS : EXCHANGE KNOWLEDGE, ENHANCE FARMING
To get better insight in which sources and tools organic farm advisers use to gather information, and to exchange knowledge with farmers, OK-Net Arable has launched a survey.
The results of the survey will help to identify among the huge variety of already existing advisory materials which ones work the best and how they can best be disseminated.
The survey is particularly targeted at organic farm advisors having experience with arable cropping.
TO ANSWER THE SURVEY, PLEASE CLICK HERE
SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS OF CONSTRAINTS IN ORGANIC ARABLE CROPPING
Based on most recent scientific literature, OK-Net Arable identified the barriers for increasing productivity in organic arable cropping and made recommendations in the areas of soil fertility and nutrient management, weed control and pest and disease control. Read the report.
In this report, OK-Net Arable has analysed how farmers and farm advisers access information. The findings show that the use of printed media is still wide-spread and that physical meetings (e.g. field days) are preferred to anonymous online courses. Nevertheless, it was also found that social media is changing the way information is spread and highlights the importance of online videos in the exchange of knowledge across borders.
SHARING INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS
The farmer innovation groups will be fully involved in this, but you are also invited to contribute! Share your innovative solutions for enhancing arable farming. Complete the template and send it to Bram Moeskops ([email protected]). The materials collected will be made available on the OK-Net Arable knowledge platform.
The OK-Net Arable platform will offer evidence-based advisory material/tools ready to be used by the farmers as well as facilitating farmer-to-farmer learning.
The metadata and the tools themselves are stored in Organic Eprints - an open, on-line archive for research in organic agriculture with more than 10,000 publications.
AGROVOC keywords have been implemented in Organic Eprints and mapped to the OK-Net keywords.