March 2022: To mark the end of the ASSIST programme, an Event was held at Rothamsted Conference Centre in Hertfordshire and also online on 30 March, when members of the project team presented their preliminary results to the research community, policymakers and representatives of the agricultural sector. Visit our Event page to read more and to listen to recordings of the presentations. And watch this space for further updates on forthcoming ASSIST-linked papers.
August 2021: The ASSIST Data Catalogue features information about the breadth datasets, models and data papers generated by or acquired for use by the ASSIST programme. The catalogue is fully searchable and open to the public with many datasets being freely available via the Environmental Information Data Centre (EIDC), also hosted by UKCEH. Find out more here.
1 July 2021: Members of the ASSIST team attended Cereals 2021 in Lincolnshire from 30 June to 1 July, where they showcased the emerging suite of ASSIST e-tools. This blog post describes the three tools developed so far: E-Planner, E-Surveyor and E-Viewer.
16 June 2021: New paper on rewilding shows that native woodland can rapidly develop through passive rewilding of former farmland, avoiding the costs and managements associated with tree planting. On sites close to woodland seed sources, seed dispersal by birds, mammals and wind created shrubland after just 15 years that progressed to closed-canopy, oak-dominated woodland within 40-50 years, with densities of up to 390 trees/hectare. The research has informed the Government's new England Woodland Creation Offer, which is offering grants for woodland natural colonisation for the first time. The young woodland was resilient to effects of deer and summer droughts, which will be important for future woodlands coping with climate change. Read the open access paper here.
25 May 2021: Check out our new short animation for the National Honey Monitoring Scheme and find out more here https://honey-monitoring.ac.uk/about
08 March 2021: New updates to the ASSIST E-Planner tool are now live. These include the abilty to easily find your farm boundaries using an SBI number, new maps for wet grassland resotraiton suitability and an updated user interface. E-Planner is a free, easy to use web tool to help farmers and other land mangers identify the most suitable places for different environmental management options via interactive maps.
24 July 2020: Analysis of a 10 year national survey of English wheat data reveals that whilst landscapes dominated by arable land have the highest average yields, semi-natural habitats are more important in increasing yield stability and resistance to extreme weather events. Read the open access paper here: https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13722
Update on 2020 field surveys: we are pleased to report that ASSIST field surveys are resuming where it is safe for our staff and the general public to do so, where this is permitted by the relevant government, and subject to landowner approval. This means that in England, as of 11th May field surveys have now resumed. We are taking all steps necessary to protect the well-being of those involved and all farm visits are being conducted whilst adhering to current requirements for social distancing and the UK Government guidelines for working safely outdoors.
11 June 2020: We are excited to launch the ASSIST Environmental Planner tool, supporting farmers to deliver environmental benefits and helping them decide which agri-environment options to introduce and where. Find the tool here or watch our short video explaining how it works!
5 March 2020: The ASSIST Scenario Exploration Tool has now updated to Version 2! Now includes 5200 possible scenarios including changes in forestry, farming and grazing, along with new environmental responses.
7-9 January 2020: The ASSIST team will be at the UKRI Innovation Hub at the Oxford Farming Conference on 7th January, and then in St Aldates Church for the Oxford Real Farming Conference on 8-9th January. Chat with us to explore scenarios of change in UK farming and see what we're doing with soils data for agriculture.
12-13 June 2019: The ASSIST team from CEH and Rothamsted are braving the rain at Cereals 2019: find them to catch up on progress at stand #435
4 June 2019: First results from the National Honey Monitoring Scheme reveal the varied diet of honeybees, analysing pollens using DNA barcoding of honey samples from beekeepers across the UK.
26 March 2019: New research supported by ASSIST reveals widespread losses among pollinating insect species in Britain
February 2019: Innovative new datasets, estimating the amount of pesticides and fertilisers used in each 1km square in England annually, have been produced by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
18th September 2018: New paper by John Redhead and colleagues at CEH and the University of Reading uses 30 years of citizen science biological recording data to construct national–scale maps of plant-pollinator network properties and explore their links with agriculture. Agricultural landscapes can have plant-pollinator networks which are more robust to future scenarios of environmental change - find out more here.
June 2018: New online tool from Agrimetrics and ASSIST makes benchmarking your crop yield easy!
Few studies have been conducted to show the impact of environmental conditions on crop performance. The ASSIST (Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems) programme is aiming to do just that and is using the exciting new Agrimetrics Data Combine benchmarking tool to capture farm yield data from participating farmers.
13-14 June 2018: ASSIST showcased at stand no. 246 at Cereals 2018 , offering visitors a tour through future farmed landscapes using immersive virtual reality!
13 - 14th April 2018: ASSIST and the new National Honey Monitoring Scheme on show at the BBKA Spring Convention, Harper Adams University on 13 and 14 April.
6th February 2018: The ASSIST Scenario Exploration Tool launches today! This is a brand new web tool enabling people to explore the impacts of potential changes in the way we farm the British landscape and to find out more about the kinds of data and models ASSIST is using and developing. Start exploring and let us know what you think!
2nd February 2018: CEH Blog post featuring ASSIST Sustainable Solutions research - Dr Ben Woodcock tells us more about why in-field flower strips are being trialled as a method to promote better pest control.
1st February 2018: BGS scientists featured on BBC Farming Today talking about ASSIST, soils and flooding from the Hillesden Estate Farm experiment
5th January 2018: ASSIST was presented by Prof. Matt Heard (CEH) to a lively audience at the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2018.
January 2018: Look out for the ASSIST stand and Prof. Richard Pywell (CEH) speaking at the AICC (Association of Independent Crop Consultants) 2018 conference on 10th January!
Look out for ASSIST on stand no. 921 at Cereals 2017!
The ASSIST stand was well received at the Rothamsted Innovation Forum event 18th-20th January 2017 where 250 high-level industry experts came together at Rothamsted Research to work collaboratively on cutting-edge solutions to issues spanning the entire agricultural ecosystem, from pre-farm gate to consumers’ plates.
The ASSIST team, together with the RSPB, will host a Stakeholder workshop for invited experts in June 2017 to help shape the development and testing of future sustainable farming approaches.