AgricultureIsLife, the experimental platform of the TERRA research unit, aims to propose innovative agricultural production and processing techniques from an agronomic, economic, social and environmental point of view, not only at field level but also at territorial level.
Agriculture Is Life
AgricultureIsLife aims to offer innovative agricultural production and processing techniques from an agronomic, economic, social and environmental point of view, not only at the field level but also at the territorial level.
gricultureIsLife anticipates the changes in the agricultural systems in order to provide practical solutions that will allow to sustain all three pillars of sustainability altogether. For this purpose, research aims to:
- maximize ecosystems services of livestock and cropping systems, especially the regulation services through the designing of a specific architecture of perennial vegetation in the agroecosystem landscape;
- optimize the carbon and nitrogen cycles;
- preserve water ressources;
- increase biodiversity;
- prevent the dissemination of noxious compounds in the environement and the food chain;
- reduce dependence on fossil fuel as well as production costs;
- increase the added-value of agriculture through diversification and the anchoring of transformation companies in the economic landscape;
- supply high quality locally grown food with reasonable prices to increasingly demanding consumers.
The experimental farm is the major tool of AgricultureIsLife. It is dedicated to crop production with varying levels of integration with livestock. Besides, innovative urban and periurban systems are being investigated with the same objectives on the WASABI platform. Concerning the animal component , the Animal Experimentation and Production Centre (CEPA), a laboratory homologated to do animal experimentation, is also a tool available for AIL users.
AgricultureIsLife, a experimental platform hosting long term collaborative projects
No one can predict how tomorrow’s agriculture will look like, but, beyond doubt, several form of agriculture will co-exist and all systems will have to perform on various levels. In agriculture, cycles are very long. Hence, AgricultureIsLife hosts on the experimental farm of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech long term experiments and keep them working despite conjectural changes. These experiments must be constructed in a prospective way to make sense tomorrow, while answering today’s research questions.
Besides those structuring long-term experiments, AgricultureIsLife still hosts in a flexible way various smaller scale experiments for example in micro-parcels within the selected crop .
Bringing people together in interdisciplinary research
Long-term experiments foster interdisciplinary research. AgricultureIsLife is committed to keep these long term protocols running, and so are committed the various researchers involved in AgricultureIsLife to apply for funding in order to exploit scientifically the experiments. Meetings are regularly organized in order to allow a structured acquisition of data to feed the people active in modelling science to develop new models and decision support tools for cropping and livestock systems.
Interdisciplinary is also rolled out be the multiscale intergration of various experimental protocols with the Ecotron and the ICOS site of EnvironmentIsLife, as well as the various laboratories integrated in FoodIsLife and the landscape approaches of ForestIsLife. The integration with EnvironmentIsLife allows the scaling-up and –down of mechanistic approaches requiring either field or totally controlled conditions. Integration with FoodIsLife, focusses on the use of biodiversity of crops to develop new food products with fewer additives (« clean label ») and cropping systems optimizing the innovative downstream food processing. The synergies with ForestIsLife cover agroforestry as well as the adaptation of landscape level high resolution teledetection approaches to livestock and cropping systems.
Agriculture is life, your partner for national and international collaboration
The long term experiments rolled out on AgricultureIsLife have a strong integrative potential at various levels, from the lab-scale experiments to the territory, for collective and interdisciplinary research with researchers from various faculties of ULiège. They allow also the active collaboration with other experimental farms and research units and the integration of AgricultureIsLife in international networks. Collaboration with companies of the agricultural and food industry is also a focal point of AgricultureIsLife.
Technical platforms and infrastructures
Three technical platforms and thee infrastructures are integrated in the CARE AgricultureIsLife:
- Plants-systems (H. Vanderschuren)
- Computing and computer modeling (N. Gengler)
- Ecology-Chemistry-Soil (A. Monty/ G. Colinet)
- The WASABI Platform (M. H. Jijakli)
- The Experimental Farm (J. Pierreux)
- The CEPA (Y. Beckers)