Future sustainable agriculture needs you

Last changed: 25 March 2020
Bumblebee pollinating flower.

What we choose to grow and what methods we use is important for the future. The course Agricultural cropping systems gives you the chance to understand how crops are produced, and how to develop sustainable solutions that provide good yields based on ecological processes. Our students are important as advisors in the agricultural sector but also as environmentalists with an increased understanding of agricultural production systems.

This is an interesting time for agriculture. Crop production of today depends to a large extent on external inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The main trend during the 19th century has been intensification with specialization and larger fields. In several ways we have reached the natural boundaries, and we cannot increase productivity by using more fertilizers and pesticides. These production systems are also replacing wildlife natural habitats– and in many cases affecting also species are important for our crops, like pollinators and natural enemies to pest insects.

There are solutions

The good news is that we have a good opportunity to change this. If you take this course you can contribute to a sustainable future and cropping systems that promote ecological processes.

Cropping systems include crops, crop sequences and management techniques used. The cropping systems varies throughout the world and there are many examples of sustainable solutions already practiced today. One important evidence is that we need more variation in the farming landscape in a way that favors both production and biodiversity. We could grow a larger variety of crops, use crop mixtures, add more crops to the rotation, practice agroforestry, sow flower strips etc. These are all things that we know work and could be employed and are not in conflict with agricultural production.

Focus on Sweden with examples from other regions

The course is focused on Sweden, without losing sight of successful examples from other regions. Students, at the end of the course, should know which are the crops that we can grow here, why does different cropping systems work in different places (and not in others). Finally, what can we learn from other cropping systems to improve ours?

The course has a production focus. It is important to find cropping systems that can give us good yields of food, feed, fibres and fuel products without losing sight of ecological and social sustainability.

Engage in debate

At this course you will have many possibilities to engage in debate. Share your experiences. Put your assumptions to test. Consider your own role. We are all part of the agricultural system - your choices in the supermarket influence both farmers and the landscape.

For agronomists and biologists

This is a good course for anyone that want to give an evidence-based advice to farmers and policy-makers – and influence future agriculture. But also biologists are welcome to the course, since the biological aspects of production are a core aspect f the cropping systems. Based on this, this course will demonstrate that agriculture can both cause and solve environmental problems depending on how it is done.

European Master in Environmental Science

The course is given Agriculture Programme - Soil/Plant, Agriculture Programme - Soil/Plant and EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science. But it is also offered as an independent course.

Related pages:

Marcos Lana, Associate Senior Lecturer
Department of Crop Production Ecology, Agricultural cropping systems
marcos.lana@slu.se, +4618672054, +46705382755

Page editor: anna.lundmark@slu.se