About

Model Farm for Sustainable Agriculture

The Model Farm demonstrates and assimilates sustainable agricultural practices and agricultural conservation principles, aiming to bridge the gap between the research world and the farmer. It is a pioneering project in Israel and unique on an international scale as well. The Model Farm spans over 40 hectares and incorporate five major platforms: an almond orchard, a field-crop plot, sustainable ruminant farming, waste recycling  and Nahalal stream.

    The principles of sustainable agriculture that will be applied in the Model Farm economy are:

    1

    Minimizing the use of external agricultural resources

    Intelligent use of water, pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This principle will be implemented through:
    A. Precision-based agriculture, for which monitoring of the agricultural plots is conducted by on-site and remote sensing. B. Use of physical and mechanical means to control weeds.
    C. Testing of almond cultivars for resistance to drought, diseases and pests. D. Reuse of agricultural and agriculture-related wastes.
    E. Control of diseases and pests by enhancing the functions of beneficial organisms.

    2

    Recycling of all organic waste (zero waste)

    This principle will be implemented through the establishment of a feedlot complex with a waste recycling site, which will collect the excreta of cattle from the feedlot and the pruning waste from the orchards at Newe Ya‘ar. The material will undergo a composting process in a closed system with odor treatment. Over time, additional and innovative treatment technologies will be tested and demonstrated on the site.

    3

    Soil conservation and soil health improvement

    This principle will be approached by testing the efficiency and practicality of agricultural conservation principles, including minimal soil disturbance, recycling of crops, and building a protective layer on the soil surface through the use of cover crops, plant residues, and organic supplements.

    4

    Preserving biodiversity and natural crop habitats in the agricultural zone

    This principle is based on management of ecological resources for the benefit of agriculture and society. It will be implemented by reducing the use of chemical pesticides and by developing and testing agro-ecological practices such as plant management adjacent to the Nahalal watercourse, field margins, and conservation agriculture and resource enhancement for beneficial organisms.

    5

    Concern for animal welfare in the livestock sector

    This principle will be approached through the establishment of a precise feedlot and the development of monitoring means for optimal production and minimalization of animal stress.

    All interfaces of the Model Farm will be tested through detailed environmental-economic analyses, with the aim of maintaining long-term viability and economic profitability for farmers.

    Facts and figures:

    Location:
    Newe Ya‘ar Research Center, Agricultural Research Organization, Yizre‘el Valley, northern Israel

    Year of founding the Model Farm:
    2018

    Farm area:
    40 Hectares

    Field crop area:
    35 Hectares

    Number of field crop treatments:
    4

    The field crops will include:
    Wheat, bacchia with mixed clover, maize, sunflower and chickpea

    The smart farming area of field crops:
    20 hectares

    The precise farming area of field crops:
    10 hectares

    Forage crop area:
    5 hectares

    Forage crop area will include:
    Moringa oleiferaCephalaria joppensi

    Almond orchard area:
    5 hectares

    Average annual natural precipitation:
    580 mm (rain)

    Altitude:
    80–125 m above sea level

    Soil type:
    Grumusol

    Number of scientific teams:
    10

    Number of scientific staff:
    Approximately 51

    Number of agricultural professionals:
    3

    Number of knowledge-dissemination professionals:
    2