Professor Alistair Stott

Scotland's Rural College

Research Interests

I head SRUC’s Future Farming Systems Research Group . Our research interests are driven by the need to understand and facilitate change in farming systems, not just in Scotland but throughout the world. Change is essential as farming adapts to climate change, population growth and diminishing stocks of the resources on which agriculture depends.

For farmers and others in the food sector to make the most of this opportunity at minimum risk requires knowledge of the complex interactions that govern the processes that convert these resources into safe and wholesome food. This information is a resource in itself, an input to agriculture that may be used in place of other (more expensive and/or more damaging) inputs to produce food more sustainably.

Creating these knowledge inputs requires research to ensure that the right information gets to the right people at the right time and in the right form to aid their decision making. Research is also needed to ensure that it is actually used.

Developments in information and communications technologies are making it cheaper and easier to deliver these knowledge resources to agriculture. Often research is needed to cut down the volumes of information available, selecting only those that relate to the particular circumstances of the decision maker.

To ensure we can capture the whole system in ways relevant to farmers our research is conducted on whole farm platforms. We use interdisciplinary research that captures the decision makers’ perspective through socio-economic approaches while retaining the in-depth understanding of the biological processes concerned as well. The particular focus of my research is on the economics of animal health and welfare and the contribution that this can make to sustainable agriculture.

PhD Students

Andreas Soteriades - Trade-offs in sustainable agriculture

Selected Publications

  • Bell, M.J., Wall, E., Russell, G., Simm, G. and Stott, A.W. (2011). The effect of improving cow productivity, fertility and involuntary culling on the global warming potential of dairy systems. Journal of Dairy Science 94, 3662-3678
  • Stott, A.W. (2011). The role of economics in motivating farmers to improve udder health. Keynotes. In: Hogeveen, H. and Lam, T.J.G.M. (Eds.) Udder Health and Communication.  pp. 43-54, Wageningen Academic Publishers, The Netherlands
  • Stott A.W., Vousough-Ahmadi, B., Dwyer CM, Kupiec, B., Morgan-Davies, C., Milne, C.E., Ringrose, S., Goddard, P., Phillips, K. and Waterhouse, A. (2012). Interactions between profit and welfare on extensive sheep farms. Animal Welfare 21, 57-64.
  • Stott A.W., Humphry, R.W., Gunn, G.J., Higgins, I., Hennessey, T., O’Flaherty,J. and Graham, D.A. (2012). Predicted costs and benefits of eradicating BVDV from Ireland. Irish Veterinary Journal 65, 12 (2 July 2012). Open access. Full text
  • Toma, L. Stott, A.W., Heffernan, C., Ringrose, S. and Gunn, G.J. (2012). Determinants of biosecurity behaviour of British cattle and sheep farmers – a behavioural economics analysis. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 108, 321-333
  • Toma, L., March, M., Stott, A.W. and Roberts, D. (2013). Environmental efficiency of alternative dairy systems: a productive efficiency approach. Journal of Dairy Science. In Press.