Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cereals 2010: Increasing yields at heart of future research

Richard Allison in Farmers Weekly Interactive (UK): Climate change and the predicted doubling in demand for food production in the next 20 years will be the key drivers of future research, according to speakers at the Science in the Arable Sector debate. Bill Clark, director at Brooms Barn, believes climate change is already affecting growers. "Drought costs farmers in East Anglia about £25m each year and nationally, it's nearer £60m. That's more than the cost of septoria."

He believes 5-10% of yield has already been lost this year in East Anglia due to dry conditions, with some crops already having a water deficit of 30mm. This has already prompted research into developing varieties that give good yields in normal years and in years like this one. "But the question is do you breed wheat that is tolerant to drought or tolerant to high temperatures. There is quite an impact of high temperatures at flowering."

Perthshire grower Adrian Ivory believes a greater effort should be made in speeding up the development of varieties for the "new climate". "We are trying to maximise yields with varieties bred for what is now a historic climate."….

A farm in New Road, Suffolk, shot by Adrian Cable, Wikimedia Commons via the Geograph Project, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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