UK food self sufficiency and sustainability possible – Farmers Weekly


A brand new research suggests grass-fed beef and lamb may very well be one of the best meat for shoppers as a part of a sustainable food plan.

The swap to regenerative farming practices would require the top of intensive, grain-fed livestock manufacturing and a return to blended farming, the place crops and livestock are grown in rotation to rebuild soil fertility naturally.

Less grain could be fed to livestock, leading to a 75% decline in pork and hen manufacturing, which is closely reliant on cereals, maize and imported soy-primarily based feed.

See additionally: How forage in pig diets advantages meat high quality

Due to the significance of grazing livestock in sustainable farming techniques, across the identical quantity of beef and lamb could be produced.

Milk manufacturing would fall by about 25%, due to the transfer to pasture-primarily based techniques.

Egg manufacturing would additionally lower by 47%, primarily because of the discount within the quantity of cereals out there to feed to livestock and the elimination of imported feed, comparable to soya.

That is in line with modelling in a brand new report from the Sustainable Food Trust (SFT), Feeding Britain from the Ground Up (PDF), which was printed on Wednesday 15 June. 

Fruit and veg crops doubled

If the UK had been to modify to a extra sustainable farming strategies, farmers would produce double the quantity of fruit and greens and grain manufacturing would halve, because of a part-out of chemical inputs and much less land getting used for intensive crop manufacturing.

However, manufacturing of UK-grown pulses (peas and beans) would double, from 0.9m ha to 1.9m ha.

The report says altering how we farm and what we eat might enhance the nation’s well being, defend nature, fight local weather change and be extra food safe as a nation.

It additionally means that in distinction to the land sparing agenda, farming will be carried out in concord with nature.

In the state of affairs modelled, woodland cowl would enhance by near one million hectares (+28%) and many extra timber could be built-in into the farmed panorama and by agroforestry – according to Climate Change Committee suggestions. 

Stark selection

SFT chief government Patrick Holden mentioned the UK faces a selection on how to make sure its food safety amid the present value of dwelling disaster, exacerbated by the warfare in Ukraine, which might quickly trigger world food shortages.

It might both “double down” on industrial farming to supply food that’s unhealthy for individuals’s well being and the atmosphere – or eat meals grown in concord with nature throughout the UK, added Mr Holden, who farms an natural dairy farm, close to Lampeter, west Wales.

The proposals would see the full space of land used for agricultural exercise within the UK fall from at the moment 72% to 62%.

But the research authors argue that, beneath this modelling, the UK would nonetheless be capable of produce sufficient food to keep up the identical ranges of self-sufficiency. 

The report concedes, nevertheless, that shifting to sustainable farming practices will probably enhance food costs, as is already being skilled within the power sector

To defend in opposition to food poverty and guarantee entry to excessive-high quality food for decrease earnings teams, authorities intervention might be important, it states.