Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


CANTOGETHER — Result In Brief

Project ID: 289328
Funded under: FP7-KBBE
Country: France

New approaches to agriculture

A recent study has shown that mixed crop and animal farming is a feasible approach to help European agriculture become more sustainable and productive.
New approaches to agriculture
Agriculture faces numerous challenges when it comes to conserving natural resources such as water and phosphorus and in maintaining soil fertility and biodiversity. One way to address these challenges is by using mixed farming systems (MFSs), where animal and crop farming are combined at farm or territory level.

The CANTOGETHER (Crops and animals together) project aimed to design and test prototype MFSs. These systems combine animal and crop production and are based on a European network of existing experimental and commercial farms. The farms or groups of farms act as case studies and cover a wide range of natural and socioeconomic conditions.

Project members developed a number of MFS prototypes, both at farm level and at territory level (based on natural or governance-defined territories). A major focus of this process was on designing tools and methods to accurately measure the success of the MFSs.

The most promising MFSs were applied in case studies, where CANTOGETHER collected environmental, scientific and economic data for each case. This data was then used to complete detailed economic and environmental assessments.

Common innovations included collective biogas plants and other waste management practices, and diversified crop rotation to include forage or protein crops. In addition, cooperation among farms (e.g. exchanging manure, straw, feed or animals) was found to improve general productivity and economic performance, with some environmental benefits as well. Overall, the researchers found economic, agronomic, environmental and social benefits in MFSs, but found that farmers' workloads increased, representing a challenge that must be addressed.

Prototype MFSs developed by CANTOGETHER will help mitigate the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions. Project outcomes will enable European agriculture to become more environment-friendly, but also more productive and less reliant on external inputs.

Related information




Agriculture, animal farming, mixed farming systems, crop farming, CANTOGETHER
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