MSc Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Conference, NUIG

Monday 4th September 2017 from 0900-1800
ILAS Lecture Theatre, National University of Ireland Galway

All are welcome – free admission! To register your attendance send email with name, address and your affiliation to: mary.gannon@nuigalway.ie

For the full programme of the event click here

Drought-proofing crops in Italy: is millet the grain of the future?

Stefania Grando (centre) talking about millet at Podere Santa Croce (photo: Bettina Bussi RSR)

In 2017 Italy experienced one of the worst droughts on record: the Po river reached a record-low level of 3.5 m below its hydrological zero in the month of June. The Po river valley (pianura padana) stretches from the north-west region of Piemonte to center-east Emilia-Romagna. Arguably, it’s one of the most fertile regions in Europe, its intensive agriculture however, relies heavily on irrigation during the summer months. Since October 2016, no significant precipitations occurred over the region, leading to an increasing hydrological deficit, aggravated by the exceptionally high temperatures recorded in June. Continue reading “Drought-proofing crops in Italy: is millet the grain of the future?”

Weather patterns shaping soft wheat Evolutionary Population composition

SEASONAL RAINFALL AND THERMAL TIME (OCTOBER-JUNE)

Meteorological data collected for the two main locations of the DIVERSIFOOD trials on soft wheat Evolutionary Populations, are compared side by side for the whole period of adaptation of same SOLIBAM soft wheat EP in these two very different regions (Floriddia-Tuscany and Li Rosi-Sicily).

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Thermal time (cumulative Growing Degree Days) for Tuscany (Floriddia) and Sicily (Li Rosi). Graph shows a clear warming trend in both locations over the 6 growing seasons period (Oct-June).

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Growing seasons’ rainfall (Oct-June) for Tuscany (Floriddia) and Sicily (Li Rosi). Graph highlights high inter-annual variability for both locations, with Sicily being generally dryer than Tuscany. Continue reading “Weather patterns shaping soft wheat Evolutionary Population composition”

Evolutionary wheat populations to enter the Italian formal seed system

Floriddia’s farm – Peccioli, Pisa

On 8-10 June 2017 at Rosario Floriddia‘s Farm, Peccioli, Pisa, Rete Semi Rurali (RSR) celebrated 10 years of activity with three days of study, discussion and celebration of Italy’s rich agricultural biodiversity. 116 different local varieties and populations of durum, turanicum and soft wheat were standing side by side in the field displaying the wealth of diversity held by RSR in their community seed bank “Casa della Semente”. Just beside this living library of sorts, the randomised block trials with 14 soft wheat and 14 durum wheat entries were ready for the participatory evaluation by the 50 delegates who arrived on the first day. Continue reading “Evolutionary wheat populations to enter the Italian formal seed system”

Cereal populations in the hills of Molise – the way forward for organic wheat growing

SOLIBAM soft wheat EP at Petacciato’s farm

As part of Rete Semi Rurali‘s series of events dedicated to cereals, on 2nd June I attended the event Let’s Cultivate Diversity in Modesto Petacciato’s farm in San Giuliano di Puglia (Molise), on the hills overlooking the Adria sea to the east, and the planes of Puglia to the south. The event was centred around cultivation and use of evoulutionary populations (EP) of soft wheat, durum wheat and barley, which Modesto has been growing on his organic certified 30ha farm since 2011. Continue reading “Cereal populations in the hills of Molise – the way forward for organic wheat growing”

Resource use efficiency in low-input agriculture

“Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist” (Kenneth Boulding, economist)

Prof Carlo Leifert of Newcastle University gives an excellent overview of resource use efficiency in low-input farming at the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2017