Introduction to the Benchmarking of Farm Sustainable Intensification

Video Demonstration of from the international SIP webinar (held December 2017). 39 minutes, on YouTube.


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Assumptions / Co-Efficients [updated 30 July 2019 for FBS2017]

Energy, Carbon, Nutrients:

USE:VARIABLE:COEFFICIENT (multiplier):Sources:
£Spend * Litres/GBPDieselWeighted_GBPperLitre1/0.52DairyCo
£Spend * Litres/GBPPetrolDerv_GBPperLitre1/1.18TheAA
£Spend * kWh/GBPLPG_GAS_GBPperKWh1/0.038Eurostat
£Spend * kWh/GBPPropane_GBPperKWh1/0.04- estimated - (europa/
£Spend * kWh/GBPElectricBoughtIn_GBPperkWh0.08Eurostat
kWh * tCO2eq/kWhElec_CO2eqTPAperKWh0.00055
GLU * tCO2eq/GLUGLU_CO2eqTPAperGLU6.97CALM (LU: Defra)
dairy-cows * litres-per-cow/6000Dairy Cows GLU adjustcows*(l/cow)/6000CALM
PigLU * tCO2eq/PigLUPigs_CO2eqTPAperPigLU0.92CALM (LU: Defra)
PoultLU * tCO2eq/PoultLUPoultsLU_CO2eqTPAperPoultLU2.2CALM (LU: Defra)
Litres * tCO2eq/LitreDiesel_CO2eqTPAperLitre0.003DECC
Litres * tCO2eq/LitrePetrol_CO2eqTPAperLitre0.0023DECC
kWh * tCO2eq/kWhGAS_CO2eqTPAperKWh0.00025DECC
kgNappl * tCO2eq/kgNNfert_CO2equivTPAperKgN0.0093CALM
tStraw * kgN/tStrawN_pct_StrawOffFm_t0.0055*1000RB209
tCER * kgN/tCERN_pct_CerProd_t0.018*1000Avg(M&W)
tDryPeasBn * kgN/tPeaBnN_pct_PeaBnProd_t0.040*1000Avg(M&W)
tOilseed * kgN/tOilseedN_pct_OilseedProd_t0.03*1000Avg(M&W)
tSBeet * kgN/tSBeetN_pct_SBeet_t0.0017*1000Avg(M&W)
tFruitVeg * kgN/tFruitVegN_pct_FruitVegPots_t0.004*1000Avg(M&W)
tADMaizeEtc * kgN/tADMaizeEtcN_pct_ADMaizeMiscnEtc0.0034*1000RB209
hlMilk * kgN/hlMilkN_pct_MilkProd0.0052*100Avg(M&W)
dozEgg * kgN/dozEggN_pct_EggsSold0.0201*0.063*12Avg(M&W)
CattleGBP * kgN/GBP N_pct_Cattle_xMilkEO0.0162AHDB+M&W
SheepGBP * kgN/GBP N_pct_SheepNOtherEO0.0168AHDB+M&W
PigsGBP * kgN/GBP N_pct_Pigs0.0271AHDB+M&W
PoultryGBP * kgN/GBPN_pct_PoultryMeat0.0290AHDB+M&W
CattleGBP * kgP2O5/GBP P2O5_pct_Cattle_xMilkEO0.0019AHDB+M&W
SheepGBP * kgP2O5/GBP P2O5_pct_SheepNOtherEO0.0020AHDB+M&W
PigsGBP * kgP2O5/GBP P2O5_pct_Pigs0.0032AHDB+M&W
PoultryGBP * kgP2O5/GBPP2O5_pct_PoultryMeat0.0034AHDB+M&W
CattleGBP * kgK2O/GBP K2O_pct_Cattle_xMilkEO0.00161AHDB+M&W
SheepGBP * kgK2O/GBP K2O_pct_SheepNOtherEO0.00167AHDB+M&W
PigsGBP * kgK2O/GBP K2O_pct_Pigs0.00269AHDB+M&W
PoultryGBP * kgK2O/GBPK2O_pct_PoultryMeat0.00289AHDB+M&W

Livestock Units

varNUMvarNameLivestock Units per Head

What is SIP?

The Sustainable Intensification Research Platform (SIP) is a multi-partner research programme comprising farmers, industry experts, academia, environmental organisations, policymakers and other stakeholders.

Funded by Defra and the Welsh Government, the platform is exploring the opportunities and risks of Sustainable Intensification (SI) from a range of perspectives and landscape scales across England and Wales.

The platform comprises three linked and transdisciplinary research projects:


"Integrated Farm Management for improved economic, environmental and social performance"


"Opportunities and risks for farming and the environment at landscape scales"

The above two projects, begun in 2014, will run for three years and investigate ways to increase farm productivity, reduce environmental impacts and increase the benefits that agricultural land provides to society.


A six-month scoping study on "The influence of external drivers and actors on the sustainability and productivity of English and Welsh farming" has been completed.

Policy background

Food, farming and environmental policy are interconnected. Whilst not a policy goal per se, SI can help deliver Defra priorities such as growing the rural economy, leading the world in food and farming, and improving the environment.

Key Defra policy drivers that have led to the creation of the SIP include:
  • Meeting the challenge of feeding a growing population sustainably in an era of climate change and greater competition for resources
  • Better integration of land management policies, which deliver coherent messages and improve the targeting of advice and incentive schemes to farmers
  • Stimulating the uptake of new technologies to improve farm competitiveness.

Whilst a large amount of information about the economic, environmental and social performance of farming exists, these tend to be very specific areas of research. The integration of knowledge to inform land management decisions tends to be done by farmers or advisers themselves. The SIP is exploring ways of integrating current knowledge of systems-based approaches to support, farmers, land managers, the agri-food industry and policy-makers balance and maximise best performance within these areas.


SIP 2.3.B. Task 1: Design and develop a sustainable intensification benchmarking system to stimulate information-sharing between groups of farmers

AIM "To provide a mechanism by which farmers can benchmark their SI performance across a range of key metrics of economic, environmental and social factors"


1. Extend FBS to develop environmental and social benchmarking metrics and indicators

2. Develop benchmarking tool to allow SIP Case-Study benchmarking groups to compare data within group and against extended FBS benchmarking from 1.

Delivery of Objectives

"Extend FBS to develop environmental and social benchmarking metrics and indicators"

"Develop benchmarking tool to allow SIP Case-Study benchmarking groups to compare data within group and against extended FBS benchmarking from 1" Key Benchmarking Tool Characteristics Delivery Plan Overview


Browse Integrated Farm Management techniques

1. Rotation1a) Horticulture - A diverse rotation with at least 3 different crop types
1. Rotation1a) Arable A diverse winter sown rotation with at least 3 different crop types
1. Rotation1b) Include spring crops where profitable and practical
1. Rotation1c) Include a cover crop over winter
1. Rotation1d) Replace an autumn breakcrop with a spring breakcrop
1. Rotation1e) Include legumes/fertility building crops in the rotation
1. Rotation1f) Provide a crop mosaic
1. Rotation1g) Avoid erosion prone crops e.g. potatoes on erosion prone soils e.g. sands
10. Environment10a) Increase and improve biodiversity areas (field margins, conservation headlands)
10. Environment10b) Maximise the benefits of set-aside/fallow
2. Soils2a) Produce a soil management plan
2. Soils2b) Avoid intensive cultivations, use minimum tillage techniques (not horticulture)
2. Soils2c) Time cultivations carefully with respect to prevailing weather and soil conditions
2. Soils2d) Match cultivations to crop, weeds, soil type and season
2. Soils2e) Reduce cultivations on steep slopes, especially on headlands and near watercourses
2. Soils2f) Cultivate and plant across slopes
2. Soils2g) Consider undersowing crops
2. Soils2h) Minimise harvesting passes in horticultural crops
3. Water3a) Produce a water management plan
3. Water3b) Ensure field drainage is maintained
3. Water3c) Manage ponds for biodiversity
3. Water3d) Exclude livestock from ditches, ponds and watercourses
3. Water3e) Undertake an irrigation water use assessment
3. Water3f) Avoid irrigating before it rains
3. Water3g) Apply sufficient irrigation at critical timings
4. Establishment4a) Grow resistant varieties wherever possible
4. Establishment4b) Exploit the characteristics of competitive and vigorous varieties
4. Establishment4c) Optimise sowing date
4. Establishment4d) Sow spring crops when seedbeds are suitable
4. Establishment4e) Consider reducing seed rates
4. Establishment4f) Consider increasing seed rate in some circumstances
5. Nutrition5a) Have a nutrient management plan
5. Nutrition5b) Buy good quality fertiliser
5. Nutrition5c) Calibrate fertiliser spreader
5. Nutrition5d) Predict crop needs (ie decision support systems or canopy management or sensing)
5. Nutrition5e) Adjust the timing and amounts of split applications as accurately as possible
5. Nutrition5f) Avoid fertiliser application to field boundaries
5. Nutrition5g) Consider using starter fertiliser (horticulture)
5. Nutrition5h) Apply manures and composts to increase organic matter
6. Crop protection - General6a) Have a crop protection management plan
6. Crop protection - General6b) Ensure all operators trained to appropriate level
6. Crop protection - General6c) Calibrate sprayers
7. Weeds7a) Plan rotational strategy to take weed control into account
7. Weeds7b) Use cultural control where appropriate
7. Weeds7c) Leave residual levels of non-aggressive weeds in crops where possible
7. Weeds7d) Establish conservation headlands
7. Weeds7e) Alter drilling date
8. Pests8a) Plan rotation and spatial separation to minimise pest problems
8. Pests8b) Use cultivations to control pests (e.g. slugs)
8. Pests8c) Use pest resistant varieties
8. Pests8d) Identify crops at risk by forecasting, sampling, monitoring or trapping and using thresholds
8. Pests8e) Use narrow spectrum PPPs
8. Pests8f) Encourage beneficial enemies e.g. field margins, conservation headlands and set-aside
8. Pests8g) Use physical barriers e.g. fleece (horticulture)
8. Pests8h) Alter drilling or harvesting date
8. Pests8i) Trap cropping
9. Diseases9a) Plan rotation and spatial separation to minimise disease problems
9. Diseases9b) Use disease resistant varieties
9. Diseases9c) Identify crops at risk by forecasting, sampling, monitoring or trapping and using thresholds
9. Diseases9d) Use appropriate dose techniques
9. Diseases9e) Avoid early sown or out of season crops
9. Diseases9f) Maintain good intercrop hygiene e.g residues