Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Welcome to the course

In this article, Dr Alice Mauchline explains what the course will cover and how to participate for maximum learning.
Photograph of farmer sitting on a trailer in a field with two dogs
© Mel Curnick

Welcome to ‘Innovation in Arable Farming: Technologies for Sustainable Farming Systems’, a European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food online course produced by the University of Reading, the University of Hohenheim, John Deere, Agricolus and SatAgro.

As you progress through the course you’ll hear directly from farmers, sharing their experiences of adopting innovative technologies on their farms, giving you first-hand accounts of the challenges as well as the benefits.

The course runs over three weeks:

  • Week 1 Technology and sustainability: introduces the innovative technologies that are currently available, the three pillars of sustainability related to arable farming and the farmers you’ll be hearing from.
  • Week 2 Economic sustainability: explains precision farming techniques in detail, the data that can be collected and the financial benefits that might be achieved using digital solutions, as well as the risks.
  • Week 3 Social and environmental sustainability: explores the social and environmental implications of adopting innovative agri-tech and how it can help to improve the sustainability of your business.

For BASIS members, this course is listed on their Professional Register. Details of how to register for 3 CPD points are available upon completion of the course.


Nearly all the output from the technologies we describe in this course is in the form of colour coded maps and diagrams which use a red/amber/green system to demonstrate variation. Blind and visually impaired learners may need a helper during these activities.

Acronyms & Glossary

Agricultural technology has lots of acronyms! We’ve defined each one where it first appears, but in case you need a reminder, here’s a list of those most often used in the course. You can also download the list from the end of this step.

You may also like to keep this glossary open in a separate window (hold the control key when you click on the link to open a new tab) in case you want to refer to it during the course.

Top tips

If you’re new to the FutureLearn platform, here are some tips you may find useful to help you prepare:

  • Take a look ahead to see what is coming up in the following Weeks.
  • Each video also has a transcript which you can read by clicking ‘view transcript’ found underneath each video.
  • As you work through the course, mark each Step as complete to help keep track of your progress.
  • Hold down the shift or control key when clicking on a web link. This will open the link in a separate window so you don’t lose your page that you’re working through.
  • Look out for any further reading which can be found at the bottom of the Steps under the heading ‘See also’, references and supporting documents listed under ‘Downloads’.
  • Please note: This course includes video content and other visual teaching methods.

If you have any questions about how the site works, you may find FutureLearn’s start guide and FAQ pages helpful.

We want you to make the most of the course and learning from the experiences of other Learners will be key to this, so please participate by sharing your views and opinions in the comments areas below each Step. If you see a comment you agree with or reflects your experience, you can ‘like’ it, or use ‘reply’ to explain how your experience differs.

To start with, please tell us who you are and what you’re hoping to gain from the course in the comments area below.

© EIT Food
This article is from the free online

Innovation in Arable Farming: Technologies for Sustainable Farming Systems

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now