Wednesday, 9 January 2013

20 by 20 Fact or Fiction - My Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust Study Topic

Here are a few questions that I regularly find myself thinking about:-

Why have the UK wheat yields plateaued?
Where is the next 'green revolution' going to come from?
How are we going to feed the estimated world population of 9.5Bn people by 2050?
How can we persuade the general public and the law makers of Europe that we need to use biological technology (new words for GM - Genetically Modified) to help feed the ever expanding world population?
What are the key ingredients to a world record wheat yield?

I think that is probably enough for me, for now, but I am sure that I will ask a lot more questions before I answer these ones!  Last July I filled in my application form to apply for a Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust award to look at my chosen subject (20t/Ha of Wheat in years time).  After the interviews in October the awards were handed out at the Nuffield Conference in November, (see previous blog).

I have to thank the Central Region Farmers Trust for sponsoring me on my scholarship.

So what happens next?  Well I am planning trips around the UK to talk to the scientists that are working on projects in this country.  I plan to visit, Rothamsted, The John Innes Centre, The James Hutton Institute, Cranfield and Bristol University.  My thoughts are to assess where the research is currently going in this country before looking at projects abroad.  I have to say that there are some great research projects happening here; I will have my work cut out to get round these institutes before the Contemporary Scholars Conference which starts on the 7th March in London.  I will see what I can do!

On the 7th of March all 22 of the 2013 Scholars and I think 2 of the 2012 scholars are meeting in London for a couple of days before heading out to Guelph, Ontario, Canada for the Contemporary Scholars Conference with all the other Internationals Scholars!  This will be an incredible experience and a fabulous opportunity to make some new friends and talk world farming for a week.
I hope to stay on in Canada to visit the University of Guelph, then the Experimental Farm in Ottawa and then a trip up to Quebec City to explore wheat projects there.  After that it's back to the farm here at Overbury.
My plans after that are a little loose, so I'm looking for contacts and idea's but I want to explore Oregon and Washington States where some high yielding wheat crops are produced, then onto CIMMYT in Mexico, where there is a lot of wheat and maize research.  After that, who knows you will just have to tune in and keep following, to see where I end up.

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