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?”

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”

Granicoltura – The Sicilian Wheat Research Station

Sicilian wheat research station

On the 20th May I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Biodiversity Day at the “Stazione Consorziale Sperimentale di Granicoltura per la Sicilia” in Caltagirone, the Sicilian wheat research station responsible for the conservation of local varieties, breeding and research for the wheat growing and processing sector. The station was founded in 1927 and its first director, Dr Ugo de Cillis, was one of the first Italian scientists to understand the importance of genetic resources, in a region which is one of the centres of origins of durum wheat. Under his direction, a comprehensive inventory of Sicily’s wheat landraces was undertaken, and over 50 local varieties of Triticum durum, aestivum and turanicum were collected and described. Continue reading “Granicoltura – The Sicilian Wheat Research Station”

The real father of the green revolution

150 years before Norman Borlaugh’s crosses ushered in the High Yielding Varieties we know today, the Italian pioneer of modern plant breeding provided its nation with the highly strategic self sufficiency in wheat production, during the autarchic effort known as “battaglia del grano” (the battle of the wheat). Nazareno Strampelli’s Durum wheat “Senatore Cappelli” has recently resurged to glory, thanks to its excellent quality for pasta making and suitability to organic conditions.

– Jeremy Cherfas reports –

The True Father of the First Green Revolution

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