Agricultural production is part of a complex system. Field quality, weather, know-how and infrastructure together with a large web of political and economic factors determine the basis for production. EU policies on agriculture and national targets have a great impact on what, where and to what extent crops are cultivated and what is the economical profitability of production.

The OPAL-Life project aims to optimize the use of arable land by targeting inputs such as labor, fertilizers and plant protection, towards the land where the response is the highest shifting production away from the non-responsive land. This results in higher yields, better economic returns and environmental benefits. Optimization of land use can also be considered as a climate change mitigation action when the total area of extensively cultivated land diminishes and year-round vegetation increases.

Land use optimization is developed together with Finnish farmers to ensure the farmers’ ability and willingness to implement the practices. The broad applicability of the project results all over Finland and in other areas in Europe sharing similar production conditions is confirmed by working on four different production areas in Finland. The areas have been selected to represent the typical Finnish soil types and agricultural production lines. Also previous data and research and active farmer networks and advisory services were important in the choice of OPAL-Life areas. 20 farms from those areas were selected for close cooperation with the project team. These farms form the pilot farm network of the OPAL-Life project.

State of the project (updated 19.1.2020)

Action State
C1: Strategic and operative network Completed
C2: Development of Land Use Optimisation tool and methology Completed. Pilot version of the Land Use Optimization Tool has been created and tested. Feedback from pilot farmers has been collected and taken into consideration in the tool development.
C3: Implementation of Land Use Optimisation Ongoing. Land Use Optimization Tool will be released in 2020. Impacts of land use changes have been analyzed and estimation is almost ready.
C4: Social acceptability and economic sustainability Ongoing. Interviews on social acceptability have been carried out, and data is being analyzed. Estimation about economic sustainability is underway.
D1: Effects of Land Use Optimization to Mitigation, Land Recovery and Biodiversity Ongoing. Data about effects on mitigation is being collected. Data about biodiversity effects is being analyzed.
E1: Communication Ongoing for the whole duration of the project.
F1: Project management Ongoing for the whole duration of the project.
F2: After-Life Ongoing. The Draft for After-Life -plan has been created. The final plan will be done at the end of the project.