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  • University of Reading

Innovation in Arable Farming: Technologies for Sustainable Farming Systems

Explore how innovative, digital technologies can help achieve sustainable intensification of arable farming systems.

2,467 enrolled on this course

Harvesting a field of wheat

Innovation in Arable Farming: Technologies for Sustainable Farming Systems

2,467 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Consider ways arable farmers in the EU can use agri-tech to benefit business

Please note this course runs without facilitation

Intensification of arable farming systems can be achieved through the adoption of innovative technologies, without negatively impacting the environment. However, uptake of these technologies by farmers across the EU has been limited.

On this course, you’ll explore evidence-based information that outlines the benefits and challenges of adopting new technologies within the EU, and have the chance to read case study examples of some of these applications.

You’ll learn from other farmers who have already adopted agri-tech on their farm and hear how they overcame any barriers to adoption.

You’ll also evaluate the potential of agri-tech to enhance production while meeting environmental and social responsibilities.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Precision farming is now getting to a point where it’s getting easier to use. More people can be engaged with it. You’ve got to go into it wholeheartedly and you’ve got to put a lot of effort and management time into it to get it up and running to then get the payback. Do you have own data? Do you use yield maps? Do you use the soil maps? Do you use satellite information? What do you use, and what is the right information that fits best to your actual system?

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds There’s one particular machine I have, I know the output needs to be 25 hectares an hour. We had a student on it. He was going a little bit slow. I did the calculation. Him going few miles an hour slower cost me 800 pounds over the day. That was something that I couldn’t put a financial number on it previously, or even demonstrated it. If the farmer isn’t educated enough about the technology, then the technology becomes useless.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 seconds Without our land, we wouldn’t make a living. And so the first goal has to be that our land is in a perfect shape. Gone are the days where you ploughed up a field, chucked a load of seed in it, chucked a load of inorganic nitrogen on it, sprayed it to hell and then harvested it. That’s not what British farming is about. That’s not the future. It’s about working with nature. And technology will naturally help that evolution.


  • Week 1

    Technology and sustainability

    • Welcome

      Welcome to the course! Here we introduce the team and the innovations aiming to make arable farming more sustainable.

    • Sustainable farming

      Presenting a framework for sustainable farming and showing how intensification can help.

    • What do farmers say?

      Interviews with 7 farmers from across Europe, sharing their experiences of precision and digital technologies.

    • Getting started

      Putting the theory into practice - where do I start?

  • Week 2

    Precision techniques and economic sustainability

    • Making a start

      The first steps in making good use of precision farming techniques.

    • Precision techniques

      Techniques for collecting, analysing, interpreting and presenting data to ensure success with precision technologies.

    • Map-based technologies for financial sustainability

      How to use the spatially explicit data contained in various types of maps to improve the financial sustainability of your business.

    • Putting it into practice

      Adopting precision farming practices in your business, the financial considerations and experience-based advice from other farmers.

  • Week 3

    Social and environmental sustainability

    • Social considerations

      Welcome back! Moving on from the financial pillar, you'll now consider the social impacts of the technology revolution in agriculture, and evaluate the benefits.

    • Environmental considerations

      Explore the numerous benefits for the environment offered by the intensification of agriculture and how to evaluate their impact.

    • Making it work for me

      Reflect on how the theory will work in the context of your own farm, find out about the technical support available and finalise your action plan.

    • The future for farming

      What's ahead for the agricultural sector - technologies and regulations.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the concepts of precision agriculture and sustainable intensification and the impact these can have on farming systems.
  • Compare the different technologies that can be used to increase productivity and know how to work out yields to profit.
  • Explore how to use agri-tech to help reduce environmental impacts of farm practices.
  • Identify which skills are necessary to implement new data-driven arable farming techniques.
  • Develop an action plan for precision farming.
  • Assess the benefits to the environment offered by the intensification of agriculture

Who is the course for?

This course would appeal to individuals working in the agricultural industry – including farmers, growers, and other primary producers.

It would also benefit environmental sector workers, farm advisors, agronomists, agricultural extension workers, inputs supply companies, agri-tech developers, and others who wish to develop their knowledge in this expanding area.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on this topic, you might also find of interest the following EIT Food courses on agriculture, technology and sustainability:

Who will you learn with?

I am a Senior Research Fellow in the School of
Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading.
My research focuses on sustainable agriculture and enhancing fieldwork learning.

I am an Associate Professor in the Institute of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Hohenheim. My research focuses on Precision Farming and Automation in Agriculture.

I am Manager Technology Innovation Strategy at the John Deere European Technology Innovation Center in Germany. My research focus is on precision agriculture and sustainable food production

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

Endorsers and supporters

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Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$54/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 9 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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