Farm land management app for complete farm land management, plan, rotate, project crops, monitor yield, compare current with historical yields, manage all farm activities and tasks, farm costs & budget management.

Farm land management app for complete farm land management, plan, rotate, project crops, monitor yield, compare current with historical yields, manage all farm activities and tasks, farm costs & budget management.

Farm App Software Brochures: 
[Farm management]  

[Fresh produce packing] 

[Flower packing] 

[Food manufacturing]  

[Meat packing]  

[Fresh produce RFID]

100% accurate farm traceabiltiy

The farmsoft app delivers instant farm traceability recalls, both up and down the supply chain.  Perform recalls in seconds, with full confidence of accuracy and reliability. Minimize risk by ensuring accurate traceability is automatically captured thru natural business processes, easily and quickly. Pass audits with ease and reduce compliance costs using farmsoft's automatic paperwork tools and features. 

Easy, instant farm planning

With the farmsoft app, farm planning is easy with automatic farm task creation to guide teams through the farming process. Plan entire crops for the season or even year with just a few clicks making farmsoft one of the best farm software solutions for easy planning.  

Best practices enforced

The farmsoft farming app creates tasks automatically based on the best practices for your farm, you check their accuracy and adjust them if the weather or other conditions change. The farming team is guided through farm tasks ensuring work is done at the right time using correct materials, and compliance data is captured at every critical point.

Farm audits passed with ease

The farmsoft app has got your farm covered!   You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know the auditors are coming the next day? Forget about about it. Using farmsoft, you have the confidence that you can do instant recalls, and generate any traceability, farm summaries, and farm records in a matter of seconds.

100% accurate farm budgets

View estimated Vs actual costs in real time, down to a specific patch/block, or by farm site, crop, and variety. Never have production cost shocks again. Budgets are automatically created by the best practice system and allow projections for any period of time into the future, down to the application of a specific spray chemical or fertilizer.

Instant access to live farming costs for each block, plot, planting, and variety

View costs in real time, down to a specific patch/block, or by farm site, crop, and variety. Compare costs per hectare/acre/M2 between varieties, different farms; and even compare cost per area for each task type like fertilizing, water, harvesting, spraying and more...

Farm yield monitoring & analysis

Use the farmsoft farming app software to analyze previous years of yield with current yield to detect trends, problems or opportunities in the farming process.  Charts allow easy visual comparison of farm yield performance.

Easy farm PHI (Preharvest interval)

The farmsoft farming app stops users from scheduling a harvest if there has been some spray (or other) activity that caused a PHI (Preharvest interval).  This also woks in revers - farmsoft farm software will stop users from scheduling a spray task if that task has PHI chemicals and there is a PHI conflicting harvest already scheduled. 

Automatically managed re-entry period

The farmsoft farming app automatically manages and enforces re-entry periods after the application of farming chemicals that are hazardous.  The farmsoft farm software 

Reduce farm administration cost and time by 60%

Automatic paperwork, labels, and reporting reduces the burden on administration teams and saves everyone's time.

Better fresh produce quality now

Quality control and food safety has never been easier with industry standard quality tests, food safety checklists; or configure your own tests.   Perform quality inspections in field.  Farm managers receive alerts if there are any quality problems discovered or developing in field.

100% accurate farm inventory, no shrinkage!

Know exactly where all your farming materials are at all times, live - in real time!  Automatically track balances of inventories at multiple farms, and multiple warehouses at each farm.  Check out/check in inventory management for managed store-rooms.

Farm land management app for complete farm land management, plan, rotate, project crops, monitor yield, compare current with historical yields, manage all farm activities and tasks, farm costs & budget management.

The farmsoft farming app delivers special attention to each client – dedicated solution consultants, project management, remote or on-site training and deployment – guarantee a quality solution. Enterprise farmsoft can be installed on your own server or accessed from farmsoft cloud – your choice. We can make additions and changes farmsoft Enterprise to ensure it meets your exact requirements. farmsoft Enterprise provides rapid R.O.I. for fast growing professional farms.

Farm Budgeting app
Create farm budgets quickly, detailed for each individual crop batch, plan inventory, labor, and equipment use, quantity, and cost. Monitor actual costs versus estimated farm costs.
Farmsoft delivers budgets for every section, subsection, patch, block, and crop instance. Budgets generated even go to the detail of specifying a particular brand and make of inventory to use, on a precise date. This unique feature sets farmsoft apart from other ‘farming solutions’. 
Easily create farm budgets for the entire farm, no matter how many varieties you are growing, and regardless of the number of plantings.

Make your farm a lean manufacturer by improving JIT delivery and accuracy of materials ordering by using farm budgeting data to project the quantity of inventory, labor, and equipment resources
Financial decisions can be improved by having access to comprehensive budgeting information before each season commences.

Easily project materials and inventory consumption
The Farm Budgeting modules reduces the risk of cash flow shocks, while maximizing your farm’s cash flow position by planning ahead using the budgeting information produced by the Farm Budget module
Contact your nearest farmsoft consultant to discuss your farm budgeting requirements.
Farm budgets create estimates for the cost and quantity of labor, equipment, and the date that the resource will be consumed or applied
Easily detect when farm budgets have been missed, and take corrective action quickly to protect cash flow position.

Compare actual farm costs with estimated farming costs at any time in real time using live budget data
Analyze farm budget figures (estimated) and actual figures grouped by land, produce, farm, site, produce type, or variety; or any combination of those selections.
Farmsoft farm inventory software reduces inventory waste, shrinkage, and ensures traceability. Farmsoft Farm Inventory software delivers new ways to increase accountability of farming materials & inventory, and ensures reduced production costs farm-wide, resulting from lower waste and shrinkage.

The Farmsoft inventory software provides a high level of accountability of production materials, allowing multi-site, multi warehouse tracking of all farming materials at all times. Access to accurate stock take information of all farm materials is critical for improving ordering accuracy and cash flow. Shrinkage or waste can be easily detected and traced back to operational areas, departments, or employees, allowing the farm to maximize return on investment for all materials.

Reduce farm inventory waste
Increase inventory accountability
Reduce waste and increase the accuracy of inventory allocations to specific cost centers.  Enhanced traceability reduces business risk
Contact a farmsoft consultant today for a free farm inventory consultation.
Easily allocate traceability information for all inventories, allowing rapid recalls and traceability processes to meet the highest international farming and food safety standards. Simple stock-take processes ensure continual accuracy of stock-take information across the entire farm.

Optionally allow ad-hoc creation of inventory on the fly, this feature allows rapid creation of inventory records during the farm task record gathering process. Traceability is still maintained to a high level for clients using this feature. This feature reduces administrative requirements and expedites record keeping. You can easily disable this feature from the farmsoft Settings module. Install the farmsoft Farming App to go mobile with your farm inventory management today.

Inventory can be accessed based on an employee’s site permissions, allowing management to provide access to only selected inventory at selected sites to a specific employee. 
Farm diary app

The Farm Diary is the central hub for easily planning, monitoring, and managing all farm activities and recording farm records.

Easily view activities across multiple farm areas, multiple farms, and multiple geographical locations from the Farm Diary. Farm record keeping has never been easier, with customizable Task Types that can be configured to match your farm record keeping requirements. Download the brochure and watch the two videos on this page.

Promotes rapid management response, and improves farm profitability via on-screen alerts and smart monitoring & observation systems.

Quickly identify potential problems and take corrective action immediately
reduce farm risk via accurate & effortless recording of traceability information during and after task execution.

Helps to improve communication between farming employees and teams via integration with task management tools, alert systems, and by providing real time updates to farm management
promotes rapid management response, and improves farm profitability via on-screen alerts and smart monitoring & observation systems.

Quickly identify potential problems and take corrective action immediately
reduce farm risk via accurate & effortless recording of traceability information during and after task execution.

Helps to improve communication between farming employees and teams via integration with task management tools, alert systems, and by providing real time updates to farm management
farm record keeping.

The Farm Diary archives all farm records for rapid access in the event of a fresh produce recall. Maintaining farm records is essential for a very high level of farm traceability. The farm diary makes capturing farm records from your phone, tablet, PC/Mac easy. 
Farm Land Management made easy for fruit, vegetable, hop, flower, and coffee farms. Easily define farming areas provides permanent traceability records for historical inputs.
Better farm land management is at your fingertips via the ability to rapidly look-up total inputs into a selected area of land, inputs can be reported by date range of input, input type (ie: a specific product), or even farm, site, area, or material supplier. Download the full farmsoft Farm Software specification now.

Define sites, farms, block, block area, row, bay, crop batch ares of land, even number individual trees if required
Assign land areas to each Crop for the life-cycle of the crop.

Automatic calculation of estimated crop life-cycle based on best practice values
Record each planned instance of a crop planting (this later becomes a Crop when seedling inputs are recorded)
Configure average life-cycle for every variety of produce.

Include maps, soil analysis, water analysis and other documents with each area of land.

Farm land management made easy. Record, retrieve, and analyze documents, maps, and other critical land management data.
Farmsoft guides employees through farm quality control tests. Enforce farm quality control using a smartphone or tablet – anywhere, anytime.
Farmsoft delivers extensive and flexible quality control checking systems that meet international farm quality control standards. Configure tests based on ISO, BRC, farmsoft, Cropsure, or create your own farm quality control tests.

Farmsoft’s extremely flexible farm quality control solution allows the configuration of virtually any farm quality control test, such as “spray checklist”, “employee performance checklists”, “safety equipment checklist”, “pre-harvest crew checklist” and more.

Integrate your farms quality management system (QMS) into farm quality control processes and record them from your phone, tablet, PC or Mac. You can even integrate your farm quality control with farmsoft’s fresh produce quality control for fruit processing and packing.
Adhere to international farm quality control standards such as BRC, HACCP, GlobalGAP, ISOx, and other standards
Perform farm quality control from smartphone or tablet (iPad, iPhone, Android).  Employees can capture photos and comments during the performance of a test.  
Farm Traceability can make or break a farm, it’s no longer an ‘optional’ regulatory requirement – implement the best farm management software now….

Farmsoft farm traceability features allow the easy capture of farm traceability records for any agriculture or horticulture based enterprise. Download sample farm traceability reports now! Farmsoft farm traceability features help to reduce risk exposure for your business by minimizing the potential size of fresh produce recalls, and enforcing best practices for farm traceability at all critical control points across the farming business. Download farmsoft specifications now.

Contemporary commercial fruit, vegetable, hop, flower, and grain farming has become increasingly regulated over the past decade. There are now thousands of farm traceability regulations that relate to the traceability and food safety in the production of fruit and vegetables for human consumption. Farmsoft farm traceability features provide an easy to use traceability solution by integrating the worlds most common food safety and traceability practices into the every day operations management of the farmsoft Farm Software.

Farmsoft Farm Software provides a strong platform for accurate recording of traceability information, via a variety of easy and logical methods. Risk exposure to the farm is greatly reduced by having highly granular traceability, which in turn reduces financial exposure to the farm should a recall become necessary. Accurate traceability reduces the quantity of fruit/vegetables in a recall, and therefore reduces the farms financial exposure. Best practice standards for farming such as BRC, Global GAP, ISO, Bio-Terrorism (and many more) are supported by the system, making audits less expensive, and compliance costs lower.
The traceability systems in farmsoft Farm Software constitutes thousands of processes that are integrated throughout the entire crop record keeping modules, forcing users to record correct traceability details at the correct time. Farmsoft Farm Management ERP minimizes the data capture and entry costs associated with traceability using various innovative techniques.
Vertical farming solutions for sustainable food production in an sustainable environmentally friendly manner.
By 2050, the world’s population is expected to grow by another 2 billion people, and feeding it will be a huge challenge. Due to industrial development and urbanization, we are losing arable lands every day. Scientists say that the Earth has lost a third of its arable lands over the last 40 years.

We don’t know how much more we are going to lose in the next 40 years. Increasing food demand due to a growing population along with ever decreasing arable lands poses one of the greatest challenges facing us. Many believe that vertical farming can be the answer to this challenge. Is vertical farming the future of agriculture? Let’s find out!

What Is Vertical Farming?
Vertical farming is the practice of producing food on vertically inclined surfaces. Instead of farming vegetables and other foods on a single level, such as in a field or a greenhouse, this method produces foods in vertically stacked layers commonly integrated into other structures like a skyscraper, shipping container or repurposed warehouse.
Using Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technology, this modern idea uses indoor farming techniques. The artificial control of temperature, light, humidity, and gases makes producing foods and medicine indoor possible. In many ways, vertical farming is similar to greenhouses where metal reflectors and artificial lighting augment natural sunlight. The primary goal of vertical farming is maximizing crops output in a limited space.

How Vertical Farming Works
There are four critical areas in understanding how vertical farming works:

1. Physical layout,

2. Lighting,

3. Growing medium,

4. Sustainability features.

Firstly, the primary goal of vertical farming is producing more foods per square meter. To accomplish this goal, crops are cultivated in stacked layers in a tower life structure. Secondly, a perfect combination of natural and artificial lights is used to maintain the perfect light level in the room. Technologies such as rotating beds are used to improve lighting efficiency.

Thirdly, instead of soil, aeroponic, aquaponic or hydroponic growing mediums are used. Peat moss or coconut husks and similar non-soil mediums are very common in vertical farming. Finally, the vertical farming method uses various sustainability features to offset the energy cost of farming. In fact, vertical farming uses 95 percent less water.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vertical Farming
Vertical farming has a lot of promise and sounds like the farm of the future. However, there are a few stumbling blocks to consider before rushing full-speed ahead into vertical farming.

It offers a plan to handle future food demands
It allows crops to grow year-round
It uses significantly less water
Weather doesn't affect the crops
More organic crops can be grown
There is less exposure to chemicals and disease
It could be very costly to build and economic feasibility studies haven't yet been completed
Pollination would be very difficult and costly
It would involve higher labor costs
It relies too much on technology and one day of power loss would be devastating
Instant traceability recalls, with 100% accuracy. Trace fruit & vegetables back to a grower, area of land/field, crop batch/patch and all inputs and their related suppliers & batch/lot details. If you use farmsoft Post Harvest software for tobacco processing, you can even trace product all the way to customers and invoices.

Easy with auto creation of tasks to guide teams through the best farming processes. Plan the entire years tobacco crops with just a few clicks! Reduce administration and traceability costs costs by collecting data during farming, reducing the burden on the admin team, and delivering automatic reporting without needing to compile reports manually.

Farm tasks can be created automatically, you check their accuracy and adjust them if the weather or other conditions change. The farming team is guided through farm tasks ensuring work is done at the right time using correct materials, and compliance data is captured at every critical point.

You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know the auditors are coming the next day? Forget about about it. Using farmsoft, you have the confidence that you can do instant recalls, and generate any traceability, farm summaries, and farm records in a matter of seconds.

View costs in real time, down to a specific patch/block, or by farm site, crop, and variety. Never have production cost shocks again. Budgets are automatically created by the best practice system and allow projections for any period of time into the future, down to the application of a specific spray chemical or fertilizer.

Optionally use farmsoft Post Harvest packing solutions that seamlessly integrate with the vertical farming software for a complete enterprise management solution. Learn more here.
Compliance with international GAP and food safety standards allows easy crop recalls, traceability, and pesticide and controlled substance monitoring and reporting.
Farming app to enhance profit, quality, and yield in the fresh produce farming industry. Only for professional farming organizations.
The farmsoft farming app is part of a comprehensive business management suite, in which you can optionally incorporate farmsoft Fruit Packing & distributions solutions as well. Much more than just a simple farming app to help you perform farm record keeping, the farmsoft suite can manage every part of the business from pre-planting planning and budgeting, through to processing, sales, and traceability management.

You can use the farmsoft farming app from virtually and device, and access your entire farm management system and reports remotely. This allows many offices to use the same system easily, and gives useful monitoring abilities to management that may be offsite or traveling.

Comprehensive farm management functionality allows management of all facets of fresh produce farming and cultivation.

Farmsoft farming apps are also multi-site and multi company enabled. You can define an unlimited number of ‘farms’ that will use the one farming solution, however, when each user access the system, they can only see information from their own farm/s. This also gives superior centralized management and monitoring for corporate farming, and sharing centralized agronomy resources.

Farm land management app for complete farm land management, plan, rotate, project crops, monitor yield, compare current with historical yields, manage all farm activities and tasks, farm costs & budget management.

Farmsoft fresh produce farming app is for fruit & vegetable farming.  Full fresh produce farm task management, traceability, auditing, inventory control, and fresh produce business management app.

Quality inspection for fresh produce

Consistent and accurate quality control ensures higher customer satisfaction and adherence to industry, de-facto, and in-house quality control standards. Track supplier quality performance, customer feedback & complaints, create QC tests for any part of the fresh produce & food manufacturing process (incoming goods, raw materials, finished goods, expiry test, export/shipping tests), daily factory hygiene, machinery calibration, employee checklists... * 

Fresh produce logistics

Manage orders, pack to order, picking and auto picking, dispatch & shipping process. Generate invoices, bill of lading, pick slips, export documentation and other sales documents... Dispatch teams are guided through the dispatch process ensuring every order is filled perfectly, and on time. Paperwork such as BOL, freight documents, export documents are automatically generated based on the customer and destination to guarantee no rejected shipments or issues at borders. *

Fresh produce labels

Generate fresh produce SSCC pallet labels, GS1 case & PTI labels, bin labels, batch labels, traded unit labels, harvest labels and more. Use the built in industry standard labels for Walmart, Woolworths, Aldi, Tesco, Loblaws etc - or design your own with the built in label & report designer. Our team can design all of your fresh produce documents to ensure farmsoft matches your requirements perfectly. *

Fresh produce packing control

Sales, Quality, Profit, Dispatch, Pack, Farm...... Dashboards for sales teams provide instant impressions of customer orders and current inventory levels. The dispatch dashboard helps plan shipments, order of loading, and transport companies & drivers... The Profit analysis dashboard shows margins per unit and most profitable customers. Use our API to access your data however you like. * optoinal

Fresh produce batch packing

Project required raw materials needed to pack/manufacture orders, potential shortages, schedule multiple orders to be packed in batches on selected production lines with a few clicks, automatically send new job alerts to managers, schedule additional harvests, analyze outstanding orders. Manage entire packing and manufacturing process with ease. *

Fresh produce alerts monitoring

Automatic alerts for shipments can be sent to customers, transport providers, or even team members. Every time a batch is finished processing, receive an alert with the pack-out breakdown and percentages of grades & quality and waste. Alerts can include simple shipment notifications, or even invoices and original order details. Other alerts include order changes/modifications, yield reports, new order alerts, and low inventory alerts... *

Improve fresh produce production planning

Efficient management customer orders, and the ability to analyze orders gives you new production planning tolls in farmsoft. Ensure each order is filled to exact specifications, on time, every time. Increase customer satisfaction and retention, and reduce stress in the packhouse with confident production planning using work orders/batch orders, sales contracts, sales orders, and sales order items. Are you manufactruing or processing chili products? Try farmsoft for chili processing. 

Accurate fresh produce traceability

Quality officers are guided through the quality control process, presented with images and instructions for each test, ensuring they know what to look for at all times, corrective actions are presented if a quality issue is detected. This makes training new fresh produce quality control officers fast, and ensures consistency in the quality control management processes for incoming fresh produce, post pack/post processing, storage, and dispatch. 

Efficient use of fresh produce cold stores

Maximize your cold store use and rotation of stock using farmsoft's pallet maps, and precision traceability tracking with expiring inventory reminders.
Cold store management software for fruit importers, exporters, packers, cross docking, and short and long term fruit storage.

Farm land management app for complete farm land management, plan, rotate, project crops, monitor yield, compare current with historical yields, manage all farm activities and tasks, farm costs & budget management.

Conservation tillage (including no-till)
Of all agricultural land management activities suggested for GHG mitigation, conservation tillage has been the most widely applied9 and studied, with the majority of research investigating no-till (NT). Given the significance of NT in the literature and in practice, we will treat it as a separate activity in this synthesis and use the term “conservation tillage” more narrowly to denote any reduced-tillage practice other than NT. With over 280 field comparisons of soil C response to NT, the average mitigation potential for NT is estimated at 1.2 t CO2e ha− 1 yr− 1 (range of −0.2 to 3.2). With slight decreases in N2O and process emissions and no effect on CH4, the net GHG mitigation potential due to NT is 1.5 t CO2e ha− 1 yr− 1. Using data from 70 field comparisons, the soil C sequestration potential of other conservation tillage practices averages 0.4 t CO2e ha− 1 yr− 1 (range from − 0.5 to 1.4). Slight decreases in N2O and process emissions result in a net GHG mitigation potential of 0.7 t CO2e ha− 1 yr− 1.

Some form of conservation tillage is now applied on more than 40% of U.S. cropland, with 24–35% of cropland under NT management (CTIC, 2008; Horowitz et al., 2010). Therefore, conservatively estimated, the maximum area applicable for conservation tillage is 72 Mha10 and that for NT is 94 Mha. These are not additive, as land intended for other conservation tillage would no longer be available for NT. While field research data focuses almost exclusively on continuous NT, some of the area counted as NT in these surveys is not continuously NT, but only for 1 or 2 years in a row (Horowitz et al., 2010).11 Thus, shifting from intermittent NT to permanent or semipermanent NT may open up additional opportunities for mitigation.

Since European immigrants settled in North America, much land has been under continuous cultivation, leading to significant reductions in soil organic matter (SOM) levels with respect to those under native conditions.12 Current SOC levels for agricultural land are 22–36% lower than uncultivated land (Franzluebbers and Follett, 2005; VandenBygaart et al., 2003). With soil exposed to the elements, erosion by wind and water removed organic material, and with it, crop nutrients. Lower SOM can result in lower soil fertility, with declines in crop production and greater reliance on fertilizer.

Reducing tillage from the traditional moldboard plow (inversion of the soil profile) to some form of reduced tillage or NT has become important for erosion control, maintaining soil fertility, and improved crop health. Equipment and chemical development has also played a significant role, allowing seed placement without a prepared seedbed and weed control without soil disturbance. Conservation tillage can take various forms, ranging in levels of soil disturbance. In NT (also called zero-till) systems, crops are seeded directly into the previous season's stubble, with an implement cutting into the soil only enough to plant the seeds. Other conservation tillage practices include (1) ridge-till, where crop rows are planted on top of ridges that are scraped off for planting and rebuilt during the growing season; (2) strip-till, where only the seed row zone is disturbed (tilled); and (3) mulch-till, a form of reduced tillage with residue retained and spread out, but tillage performed just prior to planting.

Research and experience show that less soil disturbance not only controls soil erosion and improved soil quality but also decreases SOM decomposition rates. This has been demonstrated by a comparison of 13C signatures in SOC from NT and conventional sites (Six and Jastrow, 2006) and by the observation of soil C sequestration in many studies, reversing the trend initiated by the early agricultural settlers.

SOC dynamics and C sequestration potential can also vary by agricultural history, for example, disparate conventional tillage (CT) practices between regions (moldboard plow is common in some areas but not others) and the wide range of soil disturbance levels that can be classed as conservation tillage. Greater levels of soil disturbance tend to result in lower SOC levels over time and reducing tillage from full-inversion moldboard plow is likely to net a greater SOC sequestration response than where business as usual consists of chisel plowing or disc cultivating. Different SOC response to varying tillage intensity was also noted in a review by West and Post (2002), who concluded that conservation tillage other than NT yields very little consistent soil C sequestration (NT increased SOC by 1.6–2.6 t CO2e ha− 1 yr− 1). Clear definitions of practice and residue retention13 may explain why NT tends to exhibit more consistent potential for soil C sequestration (Six et al., 2004; West and Post, 2002).

However, some researchers have also questioned whether NT actually sequesters soil C and have proposed that the prevalence of shallow sample depths in much of the reported data tends to overstate soil C changes due to NT (Baker et al., 2007; Luo et al., 2010).14 These assertions have generated significant discussion among the scientific community. High SOC variability at depth contributes to low statistical significance, and larger differences or additional samples may be needed before detection is possible (Franzluebbers, 2010; Kravchenko and Robertson, 2010). Also, regional and soil characteristics need to be considered more carefully. For example, the five studies cited by Baker et al. (2007) for which assessment at greater depths indicated negative SOC response to NT were all from moist and cool areas of Eastern Canada (VandenBygaart et al., 2003), where lower yields and greater N2O emissions most often make NT unviable as a GHG-mitigating activity.

There is scarcely any true wilderness left in the EU, so the ways in which land is managed affects the quality of the environment as well as the character and social fabric of much of rural Europe.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) continues to be a major driver of land use and management decisions. Other sectoral policies, such as those promoting renewable energy, protecting biodiversity and regulating water quality and usage have an important influence too.

IEEP seeks to inform and influence the development of the key EU policies that affect the sustainable use of rural land and to encourage the integration of environmental priorities into these policies.

We provide independent policy research, analysis and advice focussing on ways in which farming and forestry can help to protect Europe’s natural resources and the wide range of environmental goods and services which they support.

The greatest potential for NT to sequester soil C seems to be in subhumid regions (precipitation-to-potential evapotranspiration ratios of 1.1–1.4 mm mm− 1; such as in midwestern and southeastern United States). Average soil C sequestration rates for the Southeast are the highest, at 1.65 t CO2e ha− 1 yr− 1 (Franzluebbers, 2010), and other regions demonstrate average rates of up to 1.10 t CO2e ha− 1 yr− 1 (Johnson et al., 2005; Liebig et al., 2005b; Martens et al., 2005; Six et al., 2004). In cooler and wetter soils—for example, those in the Minnesota or Wisconsin—maximum C storage may instead be achieved with occasional (e.g., biennial) tillage (Venterea et al., 2006).

An extensive body of literature in the field of agro-ecology claims to show the positive effects that maintenance of ecosystem services can have on sustainably meeting future food demand, by making farms more productive and resilient, and contributing to better nutrition and livelihoods of farmers. In Africa alone, some research has estimated a two-fold yield increase if food producers capitalize on new and existing knowledge from science and technology. Site-specific strategies adopted with the aim of improving ecosystem services may incorporate principles of multifunctional agriculture, sustainable intensification and conservation agriculture. However, a coherent synthesis and review of the evidence of these claims is largely absent, and the quality of much of this literature is questionable. Moreover, inconsistent effects have commonly been reported, while empirical evidence to support assumed improvements is largely lacking.

This systematic map is stimulated by an interest to (1) collate evidence on the effectiveness of on-farm conservation land management for preserving and enhancing ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, by drawing together the currently fragmented and multidisciplinary literature base, and (2) geographically map what indicators have been used to assess on-farm conservation land management. For both questions, we will focus on 74 low-income and developing countries, where much of the world’s agricultural expansion is occurring, yet 80% of arable land is already used and croplands are yielding well below their potential.

To this end, reviewers will systematically search bibliographic databases for peer-reviewed research from Web of Science, SCOPUS, AGRICOLA, AGRIS databases and CAB abstracts, and grey literature from Google Scholar, and 22 subject-specific or institutional websites. Boolean search operators will be used to create search strings where applicable. Ecosystem services included in the study are pollination services; pest-, carbon-, soil-, and water-regulation; nutrient cycling; medicinal and aromatic plants; fuel wood and cultural services. Outputs of the systematic map will include a database, technical report and an online interactive map, searchable by topic. The results of this map are expected to provide clarity about synergistic outcomes of conservation land management, which will help support local decision-making.

Food production systems are threatened in the face of growing food demand, climate change and land cover changes [1]. Agriculture accounts for 70% of water withdrawals worldwide [2], one third of all available energy [3], 75% of all deforestation [4], 19-29% of global GHG emissions, and is the largest contributor of non-CO2 GHG emissions [5]. Declines in ecosystem health have consequences for agricultural production, such as soil salinization from over-irrigation and eutrophication of watercourses from fertilizer application. Forty percent of arable land worldwide is already degraded [6]. Moreover, these trends are increasing as agriculture intensifies and expands. For example, between 1961-2005 agricultural production doubled in Sub-Saharan Africa [7], and globally, was one of the main drivers of degradation of 65% of natural ecosystems [8]. In the last century, forest cover decreased from 170-100 million ha and every year, palm oil cultivation is responsible for c. 300 000 ha of forest cover loss [9]. In the next 25 years, food production and availability must increase by 50–70% to keep pace with the demands of a global population expected to reach 8-10 billion, income growth, and changing consumer preferences [6,10]. To address these challenges, recent international meetings have been convened, such as the UN Summit of 2014, where leaders from 20 governments and 30 organizations pledged their commitment to addressing food security through the formation of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. Balancing the need to provide enough food for a growing population while maintaining healthy ecosystems and habitats is thus arguably one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century [1,6].

Ecosystem services as incentives for conservation agricultural land management
An emerging strategy being championed for conservation is the ecosystem service framework, which proponents consider more likely to be relevant to agricultural landscapes and their associated people than traditional biodiversity conservation [11,12]. The ecosystem services framework can be used to capture how human action both impacts and is affected by ecosystem responses to land use and land use changes [13].

Although various comprehensive frameworks and classifications refined and omitted categories [14,15], the framework for ecosystem services referred to is based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) [8], as this was the first large-scale ecosystem service assessment and categories are widely recognized [16]. This includes supporting services (e.g. carbon regulation, pest regulation, nutrient cycling), regulating services (e.g. water/soil regulation and supply, pollination services), provisioning services (e.g. fuel wood, medicinal and aromatic plants) and cultural services (e.g. education, recreational, spiritual, tourism, bequest or aesthetic value). Ecosystem goods and services are stocks or flows of materials that deliver welfare gains or losses that are material (e.g. fuel wood), as well as non-material (e.g. recreational services) [17]. Ecosystem elements are both biotic and abiotic and are generally described in terms of amounts (e.g. taxonomic, functional, chemical or physical units) [18-20]. Ecosystem processes, often used interchangeably with ecosystem functions, are the complex interactions (e.g. events, reactions or operations) among elements of ecosystems (e.g. events, reactions or operations), and are generally described in terms of rates [21].

Since the publication of the MA in 2005, the ecosystem services framework has gained traction - in terms of research, a spectrum of tools, and funding mechanisms [22,23]. Dedicated journals have been launched (e.g. International Journal of Biodiversity Science in 2005, Ecosystem Services and Management in 2005, Ecosystem Services in 2012), alongside graduate programs (e.g. MSc in Ecosystem Services, University of Edinburgh). Funding bodies are also prioritizing research into more comprehensive quantification of values of ecosystem services and the link with human health and wellbeing, such as the $65 m 7 year programme on Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) and the $11 m + 6 year Valuing Nature programme led by the National Environment Research Council [24]. Moreover, ecosystem services projects attract on average more than four times as much funding as traditional biodiversity conservation projects, through greater corporate sponsorship and a wider variety of finance tools [11]. Supported by this research, there is a growing spectrum of ecosystem assessment tools, including computer-based platforms using national data (e.g. Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs (InVEST), modelling and scenario driven tools (e.g. MIMES, ARIES), as well as efforts to integrate these frameworks (e.g. the Common International Classification on Ecosystem Services (CICES)). The ecosystem services framework has been used for international negotiation and collaboration in platforms, such as the Ecosystem Services Partnership in 2008, the International Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in 2012, and the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy (e.g. Target 2) [1]. National governments have also incorporated ecosystem services frameworks to inform budget assignment and thematic planning prioritization, such as the UK’s National Ecosystem Service Assessment [17] and Foresight Report [1], that relates ecosystem services to agriculture and food security. The approach has further gained traction in the private sector, and has been used to conduct economic valuations in carbon (e.g. Voluntary Carbon Standard in South Africa), timber (e.g. Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in Nigeria) and watersheds (e.g. Payments for Ecosystem Services in Costa Rica) [25].

The role of conservation land management in maintaining ecosystem services
Given the importance of ecosystem services to the sustainability and security of agricultural systems, as well as the current rate at which those services are being degraded by agricultural systems, a key need has arisen to implement ecosystem service conservation strategies on farms. A variety of alternative practices to conventional or intensive agriculture have been proposed, which we group under the term “conservation land management” for the purposes of this study. Conservation land management strategies preserve or enhance ecosystem services without compromising farm production and may be adopted before, during or after cultivation [26]. Strategies may be active, such as surface crop residue management, or passive, such as the existence of native vegetative patches in fields. Practices may incorporate principles, amongst others, of multifunctional agriculture (producing food and non-food commodities, maintaining wild crop varieties, traditional landraces and local culture [27]), sustainable intensification (relieving pressure on land expansion and limiting forest encroachment [7]), and conservation agriculture (practices of no-tillage, permanent soil cover using crop residues or cover crops, and crop rotation [28]). Such practices often require minimal inputs with opportunities for enhancing small-holder production [26].   Farm land management app for complete farm land management, plan, rotate, project crops, monitor yield, compare current with historical yields, manage all farm activities and tasks, farm costs & budget management.

Specific examples of conservation land management strategies include growing leguminous cover crops to fix nitrogen, retain moisture, stimulate root-growth and encourage below-ground microbial activity [29]; no till or minimum till systems and crop rotation, to influence soil organic carbon sequestration [26,30] and yield [26]; mosaic or matrix management of natural vegetation within or adjacent to farmland (e.g. set aside areas, buffer strips, hedgerows or field margins), to encourage the presence of beneficial wild pollinator populations [31]; fallowing to suppress leaching and erosion of organic matter and nutrients, and increase soil cation exchange [32]; intercropping and the use of push-pull systems to regulate detrimental pest populations and enhance natural enemy populations [33]; water conservation techniques, such as drip irrigation, alternative wet and dry irrigation, raised beds, tied ridges and ditches, and growing grass filter strips, to influence water regulation and supply and control erosion [34,35]; and the intercropping of timber trees with shade tolerant crops, or multi-story cropping, to reduce the presence of weeds and promote nutrient cycling [27]. To conceptualize a theory of change, Figure 1 shows examples of conservation land management strategies (single programs or comprehensive community initiatives) (red) that may bring about outcomes on supporting or provisioning ecosystem services (blue), through key measurable indicators or proxies (black).

Illustrative theory of how conservation land management strategies may bring about change in ecosystem service provision. [Red] indicates conservation land management strategies; [Black] indicators; [Blue] ecosystem services; [+] indicates an increase; [-] indicates a decrease; thick solid lines are estimated relations referenced in the text; while dotted lines are proxies for ecosystem services. The box surrounding the figure indicates that all factors influence crop productivity.

The figure illustrates the complex web of activity that is required to bring about change, while assumptions indicated in the flow arrows are not exclusive or exhaustive, and require varying degrees of research verification. We still lack a coherent evidence base showing how effectively these management strategies preserve or enhance ecosystem services overall.

Synthesizing evidence is complex for three main reasons. Firstly, change in conservation land management may affect various ecosystem services differently. For example, some studies report that long-term no-till can improve soil fertility, recovery and decrease erosion, but no-till can also lead to soil compaction, limit water infiltration and can hinder seed germination [36,37]. Other studies have reported that managing runoff can increase and stabilize crop production and deposit plant nutrients in soil, but runoff can adversely affect nutrient cycling [38]. The management of ecosystem services therefore requires making judgements about trade-offs, not least, the trade-off between agricultural production and environmental protection [23]. Secondly, impacts of land management on ecosystem services are often quantified by indicators or proxies of ecosystem processes, thought to subsequently impact ecosystem services. However, evidence for the adequacy of these proxies is often incomplete or inconsistently reported. For example, many studies suggest higher biodiversity allows for higher levels of ecosystem service provision [39], while others argue there is little hard evidence to show the necessity of a diversity of natural enemies in regulating pests on farms [40]. Thirdly, much of the evidence is spread across different disciplinary “silos”, with very limited synthesis. Some studies also overstate the benefits of land management strategies [37].

Land managers, and other parties interested in ecosystem services, would benefit from much greater clarity and information on the effectiveness of conservation land management strategies, in order to decide which management strategies to implement at the farm level. When evidence is so extensive and disparate, a rapid first step in such an informational synthesis is a systematic map, a rigorous methodological tool of data extraction of peer-reviewed and grey literature [41]. Systematic maps have the same precision as a review, while no evidence synthesis is attempted and a critical appraisal of the quality of evidence is limited in depth [42,43]. Previous attempts to synthesize this body of research have focused on particular regions, such as Africa [44,45], a limited set of practices [28], or have evaluated management outcomes purely in terms of crop responses [45]. Our systematic map will build on this research, both geographically, and in terms of the management strategies and ecosystem services studied.

Against this background, the aim of this systematic map is to review the state of evidence that reports on the effectiveness of on-farm conservation land management for protecting or enhancing ecosystem services. First, we aim to provide a better summary of different strategies proposed and tested, in which crops, habitats and regions, and over what timeframes. Secondly, we will identify the pathways by which practices are assumed to influence ecosystem service provision by reporting on measurable indicators assessed in studies. We will differentiate between methodologies that are experimental, quasi-experimental and non-experimental and indicators that are physical, chemical, biological, social and/or economic. The spatial scale of the study is at the field level, as this is the scale at which most decisions for land management are made and need to be informed [46]. Our geographical coverage will be developing regions, as this is where much of agricultural expansion is occurring [1], yet 80% of arable land is already used [47] and croplands are yielding well below their potential [4]. In some cases, developing regions may also depend on ecosystem services rather than technological inputs to support agriculture, due to lower financial, technical and credit-borrowing capacity.

Objectives of the systematic map
Collate studies providing evidence on the effectiveness of on-farm conservation land management practices on ecosystem service provision in agricultural landscapes in low-income and developing countries.

Geographically map which indicators have been used for on-farm assessments of conservation land management in low-income and developing countries.

Produce an online interactive map, searchable by topic.

Elements of the systematic map question
Population: Farms in low/middle income and developing countries.

Intervention: Conservation land management strategies adopted to support productive agriculture, while simultaneously preserving or enhancing ecosystem services.

Comparators: Farms without conservation land management strategies, conventional/intensive agriculture or natural sites.

Outcomes: Measured changes in ecosystem services, including supporting services (e.g. carbon regulation, pest regulation, nutrient cycling), regulating services (e.g. water/soil regulation and supply, pollination services), provisioning services (e.g. fuel wood, medicinal and aromatic plants) and cultural services (e.g. education, recreational, spiritual, tourism, bequest or aesthetic value).

Search strategy
The following search strategy and research question have been developed with stakeholders in two meetings in South Africa (February 2014) and UK (June 2014). Expertise of stakeholders span the fields of environment, conservation, biodiversity, development, agriculture, entomology, soil science, pollination, anthropology and ecology. Further comments on earlier drafts of this protocol were provided after the workshops and over email with other contributors (Additional file 1).

The systematic map will be limited to studies published in English. This decision was made as the larger body of literature is in English, as well as this being the linguistic competency of the review team and also provides a mechanism for restricting the scale of the study [41,48]. Should a full systematic review be conducted arising from the map, French, Spanish or Portuguese would be considered to cover literature from regions in Africa, South East Asia and Latin America. Future assessments will create language-specific search strings associated with the research question.

Key search terms
A list of key terms, searched at levels of title, and abstract level is listed in Additional file 2. Each of the terms relate to the components of the research question and PICO (Population Intervention Comparator Outcome). The list was compiled by experts from invited institutes and universities, who met at the two stakeholder workshops. Terms were built into strings, used in preliminary scoping searches conducted in the Web of Science (WOS) CAB Abstracts, and Google Scholar. In WOS 27 search strings were tested, with the final string resulting in 7558 hits. The search strategy contains synonyms and near-synonyms, and does not make a distinction between definitions used in the primary literature. We will use these strings as the basis of the search, however an iterative approach to identifying search terms will be adopted to improve the strategy and help minimize bias. Details of the search logic and the development of the final strings are found in Additional file 3. Boolean search operators will be used to connect search terms in the usual way and subject to the specific rules of individual databases. In the search wildcards will be used with care and will vary slightly from database to database. Such variations between search strategies in each database and source will be documented and reported in the final map. The date of the search will be documented, allowing for updating of future mapping.

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