Agriculture and Machinery
The overall aim is to support the development of financially and environmentally sustainable agriculture. The subject area includes both crop production and livestock production, both conventional and organic. As a general rule for all areas, we are looking for knowledge and innovations that are simple, profitable and effective to implement on a broad front. The Foundation’s specific priorities for autumn 2019 are described below.
Sustainable intensification of Swedish plant cultivation
Ahead of this year’s call for proposals, we are particularly interested in projects that can contribute to the development of robust cultivation systems with high productivity during changing weather and climate conditions. Our goal is to be able to increase production without any negative environment impact. To succeed with this, new knowledge will be required within a number of different areas. For example, there is a need to analyse how plant breeding can possibly contribute with new qualities for cultivation systems of the future. We need to learn how to quantify and minimize nitrogen losses as nitrous oxide from arable land. Another interesting research challenge is to find new application areas for forage crops to enable us to gain a perennial rotational crop in grain dominated crop rotation. We are also interested in new knowledge concerning how biodiversity can be preserved and recreated in the farming landscape. Within the area of crop protection, there are several research challenges and a general trend towards a ban on important chemical pesticides that must be replaced by other products or methods. There is great potential to improve both yield, quality and sustainability via precision agriculture and digitalisation. Within plant breeding and seed production, there are good opportunities to develop new technologies with genetic markers, advanced image analysis and quick methods for e.g. germination, health and purity.
Right quality of grain and other plant based commodities
If the production and further processing of grain and other plant based commodities is to be profitable, it must meet the quality requirements demanded. Different customers and different application areas impose different demands on these commodities. Grain should have the right protein content and protein quality, starch content, falling number, kernel size etc. Added to which, minimizing the content of undesired substances such as cadmium and mycotoxins is generally important and that subsequent processing steps do not generate acrylamide or other toxic substances. To meet these requirements, we are prioritizing projects within the areas of cultivation techniques and grain handling. We also see big potential in new, precise and cost-effective analysis methods.
Profitable and sustainable livestock production
Our goal is for Swedish livestock production to be able to grow and become more profitable. Right now, we are seeing a growing interest in Swedish reared meat and dairy products and a big focus on the climate impact of livestock production. Based on this, we are looking for projects that can lead to increased production and use of domestic feed commodities. We also see a clear need to increase knowledge about how grain should be grown and evaluated as feed to different livestock. In the case of roughage, it is important to increase knowledge about the evaluation of fiber and protein. Problems with toxins and antinutritional substances in different feed commodities also have high priority. Here for instance, there are opportunities for new process technology and effective additives. Within organic poultry production, we are looking for new and effective methionine sources that enable us to reduce the total amount of protein in feed without interfering with production. One prioritized sustainability challenge is to reduce methane emissions from milk and meat production.