Phenotyping capabilities of RI to support innovation towards the agroecological transition at the farm level

Partners: UCL (LEAD), SC


Schematic representation of the interaction between farmers and research infrastructures in this UC.

The lack of interactions between farmers and the scientific community is one of the factors that hinders the agroecological transition. While innovation is largely in the hands of farmers, the main agricultural research capacity is located in research centres and industry which foster on mainstream avenues.

Small private actors have established farmers networks and typically document the evolution and diversity of management practices in farmers’ fields to provide locally relevant advice.

The objective of the Farms2Platforms use case is to demonstrate (i) that small private actors can also leverage on RI capacities to draw scientifically valid conclusions on farmers innovations and (ii) that the field deployment of IoT and the coverage of EO products are key to the success of this partnership.

Soil Capital (including partners entities such as CultivAe) will play the role of the small private actor. It has a network of 600+ farmers with an interest in management practices that increase soil carbon. A core activity of SoilCapital, not directly related to PHENET activities, is the estimation of soil carbon evolution in farmers fields. A key information for this estimation is the type and date of soil preparation practices. UCLouvain will play the role of the RI, with its experimental farm, phenotyping instrumentation, data storage facility and modelling capacity.

Expected results

  • Proof of concept that plant phenotyping RI can operate with farmers, that is, well beyond the close perimeter of scientific institutions and industry.

  • Proof of concept of hybrid experiments combining RI sites and farmer fields and leveraging on IoT deployment and EO data.

  • Proof of concept that small private actors can gain expertise and improve their business capacity by using technological solutions developed in/with RI.

The expected services

  • The Farms2Platform use case ambition is to demonstrate that research infrastructures can provide services to a new target public, beyond scientists and industries, to support agricultural transition in farmers’ fields.
  • The service here would be to provide recommendations / specifications / methods / training to non-scientific actors for (i) the extraction of EO data, (ii) the deployment of IoT at farmer sites (iii) the management of own data and (iv) the mobilisation of RI sites to increase the experimental and analytical capacity of private actors close to farmer innovation and field reality.

Last Modified: 21.05.2024