Research need from Focus Group: Quantifying On-Farm Loss and Waste
Plant production and horticulture
Waste, by-products and residues management
This is the problem:
This need for research has been identified in FG 31 on “Reducing food loss on the farm”. If you want to know more about it, check the final report of the Focus Group.
A key initial step is knowing and quantifying the extent of on-farm losses. These are quite difficult to quantify as some fall in the interspace between actual waste and recirculated nutrients and organic matter that maintain soil health (e.g. unmarketable vegetables that are ploughed back into the soil to improve soil health). Furthermore, virtual losses can also be considered as an ‘opportunity loss’ where inefficient operations lead to lower yield than is feasible, using the same (or lower) level of input resources.
There is a need to develop a clear understanding of what we categorise as on-farm losses. Furthermore, even if we establish clear definitions of such losses, there are practical difficulties in accurately measuring these. Nevertheless, it is important that reasonably accurate assessments are made as we need to benchmark the impacts of reduction systems on overall levels of loss and waste.