By Willer H., De Simone A., Kemper L., Moeskops
The online platform Organic Farm Knowledge intends to help increase productivity and quality in organic farming across Europe by providing access to a wide range of tools and promoting the exchange of knowledge among farmers, farm advisers and scientists.
Organic Farm Knowledge was set up in the European funded project OK-Net Arable (2016-2019), which promoted improved productivity and quality in organic arable cropping. The platform has now been expanded to include the knowledge acquired in the OK-Net EcoFeed project (2018-2020), which supports organic pig and poultry farmers achieve the goal of using 100% organic and regional feed. Further projects are joining, and tools addressing a range of additional themes are being added.
In the projects mentioned above, relevant tools are selected, translated and produced. In OK-Net Arable, the partners provided about 180 tools on arable crops, soil quality and fertility, nutrient management, pest and disease control. OK-Net EcoFeed focuses on pigs, broilers, laying hens, feeding and ration planning and the handling of harvested feed. Many of the OK-Net EcoFeed tools are now on the Organic Farm Knowledge online platform and additional tools will follow soon.
Several European projects have expressed interest or are already committed to supplying tools on themes such as seed, plant breeding, fruit production, and inputs used for organic plant protection, animal productions and fertilisation. These tools are expected to be available soon.
The core of the platform is the ‘toolbox”. Available tools include, for instance, factsheets, guides, online calculation tools and videos. Every tool is described by metadata that helps users to find the most relevant tool addressing their needs. Metadata include the problem the tool addresses, the solution(s) it offers, a description of the tool, the theme(s) covered, the language(s) it can be found in, the year it was released, the country of origin and information about the issuing organisation.
Search the farmknowledge.org hub
How can I inform myself about new tools?
All tools are announced on the Organic Farm Knowledge platform with a news item. The latest tools are also highlighted in a separate boxon the homepage and on the relevant theme pages. The tools are also promoted via social media: on Facebook and on Twitter.
The work done so far shows that in Europe a lot of knowledge exists about organic farming, but it can be difficult to find, and in many cases, it is difficult for farmers and advisers to use it in their daily work. The online Organic Farm Knowledge platform offers tools that present scientific and practical knowledge that is designed for and by practitioners, making it easier to access and apply. The platform also offers the possibility for users to comment, discuss and ask questions about important themes and specific tools. In this way, the online platform contributes to helping farmers and advisors become more innovative and improving towards best practices. Further collaboration in the organic sector is needed to transform the platform into a unique and useful resource for all.
Organic Farm Knowledge was originally set up in the Horizon 2020 project OK-Net Arable (Organic Knowledge Network Arable) and is now being further developed in OK-Net EcoFeed (Organic Knowledge Network on Monogastric Animal Feed). Both projects are thematic networks. OK-Net Arable addressed organic arable cropping. OK-Net EcoFeed aims to help organic pig and poultry farmers achieve the goal of using100% organic and regional feed. OK-Net EcoFeed is a continuation of OK-Net Arable, linking feed cultivation, feed processing and animal production.
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