Skip to navigation Skip to content

Integrated Farm Management

We undertake research on sustainable agriculture which meets the needs of LEAF farmers and policymakers, by developing and promoting the principles of IFM.

Integrated Farm Management (IFM) involves:

  • a commitment to good husbandry and animal welfare
  • efficient soil management and appropriate cultivation techniques
  • the use of crop rotations
  • minimum reliance on crop protection chemicals and fertilisers
  • careful choice of seed varieties
  • maintenance of the landscape and rural communities
  • enhancement of wildlife habitats
  • a commitment to team spirit based on communication, training and involvement.

At The James Hutton Institute we undertake research on sustainable agriculture which meets the needs of LEAF farmers and policymakers, by developing and promoting the principles of IFM under the following headings.

PR and marketing

Communication and Information Services activities, for example LEAF Open Days, Open Farm Sunday, school visits, publications on biodiversity, sustainability and climate change.

Organisation and planning

All aspects of research and farm management at The James Hutton Institute are planned in an integrated way by researchers and farm staff and includes LEAF and Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) audits.

Soil management

The Environment Plant Interactions programme conducts a range of research on plant-soil interactions, including tillage, nutrient uptake and fertiliser use.

Crop protection

The Environment Plant Interactions, Plant Pathology and Genetics programmes carry out research aimed at minimising pesticide inputs and providing sustainable pest and disease control.

Energy efficiency

The Environment Plant Interactions and Genetics programmes are researching the optimisation of plant resources (for example, water and nitrogen) by breeding new varieties and using IFM principles.

Pollution control

The Environment Plant Interactions, Genetics and the Plant Products and Food Quality programmes are researching ways of minimising the run off of fertilisers from fields into water catchment areas, studying the impact of climate change on a range of crops and developing ways to reduce its impact.

Wildlife and landscape management

Environment Plant Interactions are studying the effect of farm management and climate change on biodiversity and developing ways of enhancing ecological services, for example biological control, pollination and soil fertility.


An important part of IFM is providing a range of habitats for wildlife on farms. These habitats provide food and shelter for a wide variety of different species, for example birds, insects and mammals. The James Hutton Institute is actively developing these habitats and has the following on its farm:

  • water margin
  • mixed woodland
  • grass set-aside
  • extended hedges
  • species-rich grassland
  • grassland management for birds
  • mixed hedges
  • amenity trees
  • dyke restoration
  • wild plant strips.

Learning & Resources

Printed from /learning/leaf/ifm on 14/04/24 12:29:26 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.