The NEFERTITI project is a unique network comprising 32 partners from 17 countries. As this is the final year of the project, all partners recently met in the Netherlands for a final project 'push'.  IfA's Deborah Crossan attended and writes about the experience below...

"The overall objective of the H2020 NEFERTITI project is to establish an EU-wide highly connected network of demonstration and pilot farms. These are designed to enhance knowledge exchange and efficient innovation uptake in the farming sector through peer-to-peer learning.

The covid impact on this project has unfortunately prevented any physical meetings taking place during 2020 and most of 2021. Therefore, the 5th Annual meeting in the Netherlands in April, was much anticipated.

Myself as Hub coach and Richard Lloyd, project leader, travelled to Den Haag to take part in this final meeting, as the project enters it’s last 6 months.

The main objectives of this 3-day event, were to draw conclusions from the 4-year project and potentially find ways to ensure the legacy of Nefertiti is captured and that the learning is utilised for future projects. The consortium has been working together for over 4 years and has potential networking links for IfA in the future on new projects.

On day one, the areas for discussion were around the main achievements of the thematic networks and the changes we have seen over the time period. For example, The Grassland  and Carbon Sequestration Hub run by myself, was seen to be a novel network originally and has now become a common area for discussion on farms.

That evening a group of us took in some sights of this lovely city based on the north coast of the western Netherlands, which is  the seat of the Dutch parliament and also the U.N. ‘s Court of Justice.

Day two concentrated on plans for the upcoming FarmDemo conference in Brussels in May, where IfA will also be giving presentations, Richard is presenting a poster there and I will be speaking about organising farm demonstrations in the UK.

The afternoon grassland visit was to a 130-cow dairy unit on wet peat soil, using innovative management to achieve a high yielding herd, 9.576   kgs/cow/yr. The cows were clean and relaxed, with excellent health and welfare standards.  The owners had moved from compost bedding to a bedding cleaner in a sand bed, housed in a new purpose-built pack barn. The hosts were very welcoming and met us with hot strong coffee and cakes and ending the visit in a cosy meeting room, where they were very keen to explain more about their management strategy and how they host farm demonstrations. The other groups visited orchids growing under glass and an arable farm of mixed crops on a controlled traffic system.

The evening was spent at a coastal restaurant during an onshore sea storm which gave us a sheltered vantage point to observe the North Sea at its finest.

We ended the visit with a sharing of learning from all the groups and Richard Lloyd giving a presentation on the dairy feedback before departing to Den Haag Central station for our usual 2-hour flight delay home."

For more information about the work of the NEFERTITI project, click here.