Browsing by Author "Sherry, Erin"
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ItemAre stakeholders ready to transform phosphorus use in food systems? A transdisciplinary study in a livestock intensive system.(Elsevier, 2022-02-12) Martin-Ortega, Julia; Rothwell, Shane A.; Anderson, Aine; Okumah, Murat; Lyon, Christopher; Sherry, Erin; Johnston, Christopher; Withers, Paul J.A.; Doody, DonnachaFood systems worldwide are vulnerable to Phosphorus (P) supply disruptions and price fluctuations. Current P use is also highly inefficient, generating large surpluses and pollution. Global food security and aquatic ecosystems are in jeopardy if transformative action is not taken. This paper pivots from earlier (predominantly conceptual) work to develop and analyse a P transdisciplinary scenario process, assessing stakeholders potential for transformative thinking in P use in the food system. Northern Ireland, a highly livestock-intensive system, was used as case study for illustrating such process. The stakeholder engagement takes a normative stance in that it sets the explicit premise that the food system needs to be transformed and asks stakeholders to engage in a dialogue on how that transformation can be achieved. A Substance Flow Analysis of P flows and stocks was employed to construct visions for alternative futures and stimulate stakeholder discussions on system responses. These were analysed for their transformative potential using a triple-loop social learning framework. For the most part, stakeholder responses remained transitional or incremental, rather than being fundamentally transformative. The process did unveil some deeper levers that could be acted upon to move the system further along the spectrum of transformational change (e.g. changes in food markets, creation of new P markets, destocking, new types of land production and radical land use changes), providing clues of what an aspirational system could look like. Replicated and adapted elsewhere, this process can serve as diagnostics of current stakeholders thinking and potential, as well as for the identification of those deeper levers, opening up avenues to work upon for global scale transformation. ItemEvidence and perception of phosphorus loss risk factors in farmyards(Elsevier, 2020-10-14) Vero, Sara; Sherry, Erin; Doody, DonnachaFarmyards present potential point sources of phosphorus loss to watercourses, affecting their 16 ecological quality and attainment of environmental goals. Unlike many relatively simple point sources, 17 farmyards are complex sub-systems within the wider agricultural setting, including individual runoff, 18 management and infrastructure factors which influence the risk (likelihood and magnitude) of 19 phosphorus loss. Comparison across these factors is confounded by heterogeneity in farmyard design 20 and management, however, weighting of individual factors will support estimation of the relative 21 riskiness of farmyards. This will allow identification of appropriate mitigation measures and evaluation 22 of cost-benefit ratios. The aim of this study is to evaluate the riskiness of runoff, management, and 23 infrastructure factors on phosphorus loss from farmyards to water, using expert opinion and to 24 evaluate whether those estimates are supported by the literature. A survey of research, advisory and 25 policy stakeholders was conducted (147 respondents) in which individuals rated the importance of 26 individual factors from 0 (having no impact) to 10 (having critical impact) on phosphorus loss from 27 farmyards. The most highly ranked factors were within the infrastructure category, followed by runoff 28 and finally management factors. Factors relating to silage effluent and slurry storage were assigned 29 the greatest risk (≥8.4). Runoff factors were also high risk but may be difficult to mitigate compared 30 to infrastructure. Management factors were rated lower by all stakeholder groups but may offer low 31 cost options to offset more intransigent risks. High consensus was observed between stakeholder 32 groups, with significant differences in risk ratings for only 8 out of 29 individual factors. ItemMethodological fallacies and perceptions of rural disparity: How rural proofing addresses real versus abstract needs(Elsevier, 2019-05-01) Sherry, Erin; Shortall, SallyIn 2016, the EU committed to 'rural proofing' its policies. Rural proofing has now become a priority across Europe. Prior to this, rural proofing or mainstreaming, the reviewing of universal policies to ensure comparable treatment of rural areas, was relatively unique to England and Northern Ireland. The first case of legislating rural proofing has occurred with The Rural Needs Act (Northern Ireland) 2016. Qualitative data was collected from civil and public servants with experience of pre-legislative 'rural proofing', as well as those facing new responsibilities under the Act. Additional data was obtained from key informants active in agricultural, environmental, and rural organisations. Several key findings emerge, all underpinned by a central issue: that the approach entirely stands on an assumption of rural disadvantage, the nature of which is never articulated. We argue that this is not driven by a lack of evidence, but by a more fundamental problem: the pervasiveness of viewing rural issues through a lens tinted by methodological fallacies. Failure to correct for these weaknesses by means of a dynamic theory of rural leads to flawed policy, because it is designed to treat disparity rather than accommodate diversity. In other words, it is premised on a binary of urban/rural. The findings of this research will inform the development of rural proofing policies going forward. ItemProduction pathways for profitability and valuing ecosystem services for willow coppice in intensive agricultural applications(Elsevier, 2023-01-20) Livingstone, David; Smyth, Beatrice M.; Sherry, Erin; Murray, Simon T.,; Foley, Aoife M.; Lyons, Gary A.; Johnston, ChristopherIncreasing agricultural sustainability is a key challenge facing the globe today. Energy crops, planted as riparian buffers are one way to support this, simultaneously mitigating water quality degradation and climate change. However, the economics of implementing such riparian buffer systems is under researched. Hence this work conducted a bottom-up economic analysis of willow coppice riparian buffers on a Northern Irish dairy farm, which is indicative of agricultural intensification across Europe. This work includes an economic assessment of a willow coppice riparian buffer strip, using harvested yield data from an established willow buffer site for the first time. It also considered the impact of harvesting technology on the economic performance of a willow coppice riparian buffer strip for the first time. The analysis considered three willow production pathways: 1) direct chip harvesting, 2) full-stem harvesting, and 3) a scenario with a guaranteed purchasing contract for fresh chip. Economic performance was considered using net present value over a 25-year plantation lifetime. The full-stem scenario provided the highest economic return over its lifetime with an average yearly net present value of £497 ha−1 (in £ sterling). This system was then considered for integration into a typical dairy farm, assuming 5 % land usage and including government grants for establishing riparian zones. The result was a drop in value of £28 ha−1 yr−1 compared to a dairy-only scenario; however, per litre of milk the farm employing willow coppice riparian buffer strips outperformed a typical dairy farm both environmentally and economically. Further analysis considered a novel approach that included payments for ecosystem services in the economic analysis. This analysis found that the implementation of government payments for ecosystem services (nutrient removal) increased the economic return of the willow coppice riparian buffer system by £400 ha−1 yr−1, resulting in minimal impact on the return from dairy land. ItemUnpacking Total Factor Productivity on Dairy Farms using Empirical Evidence(MDPI, 2022-02-04) Olagunju, Kehinde Oluseyi; Sherry, Erin; Samuel, Aurelia; Caskie, PaulThis study examines the farm-level factors that influence differences in total factor productivity (TFP) on dairy farms. To this end, a fixed-effects regression approach is applied to panel data for dairy farms obtained from the Farm Accountancy Data Network for Northern Ireland over the period of 2005 to 2016. The findings are largely consistent with existing empirical evidence, showing that herd size, milk yield, stocking density, and share of hired labour have a positive and statistically significant impact on TFP, while labour input per cow, purchased feed input per cow, and share of direct payments in total farm output have a negative and statistically significant impact. The more complex relationships, namely age, education, and investment, have been unpacked using interaction terms and nonlinear approximation. The impact of age is negative, and the drag on productivity grows as age increases. Capital investment and education both have a positive impact on farm-level TFP, as well as on their interaction. Policy recommendations on strategies and best practices to help dairy farms tackle productivity constraints are suggested