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The FFC Bulletin 2018 V4 October

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IPCC special report on impacts of global warming of 1.5°C

While the latest Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report, has garnered significant media coverage, it is of such importance for agriculture and wider society it would be remiss not to include it in the FFC Bulletin.  This is a special report, linked to the Paris Agreement, on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C and strengthening the global response to climate change, sustainable development and eradication of poverty.  While the report is pretty tough reading, in terms of where we are at, and what needs to be done, it is not as doom-laden as some commentators have made out.  The authors are very clear that there are no scientific barriers to fully addressing climate change if we act concertedly, rapidly with a coordinated approach – i.e., climate change is still manageable.  What is required is action by individuals through to governments and international governmental organisations, i.e., it is up to us as citizens to work and vote for the outcome we want.

CIDSE report: “The Climate Urgency: Setting Sail for a New Paradigm”

CIDSE has released an informative and highly readable report “The Climate Urgency: Setting Sail for a New Paradigm” with a particular focus on agriculture and the paths we need to take to create a paradigm shift.  It is a good juxtaposition to the IPCC report.

Grazed and confused – the video – from the Food Climate Research Network (FRCN) – the video – from the Food Climate Research Network (FRCN)

There is a lot of debate about the global warming advantages or disadvantages of farming livestock on pasture.  A pretty definitive report by a global group of experts, coordinated by the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN) has found the cows wanting.  Read more

Final outputs from SOLMACC

SOLMACC – Strategies for organic and low-input farming to mitigate and adapt to climate change – a large European Union funded project is winding up. It has a host of valuable information and lessons learnt, including farmers / growers manuals, videos, policy recommendations etc., so well worthwhile dipping into while the information is still easily available on their website.

Silvoarable agroforestry in the UK

As part of the AGFORWARD (AGroFORestry that Will Advance Rural Development) EU program, (previously referenced in the FFC Bulletin 2018 V2) The Organic Research Centre in the UK has released the results of its agroforestry project – lead by the veteran agroforestry campaigner and researcher Prof. Martin Wolfe. There are some particularly pertinent lessons for agroforestry in New Zealand in these reports as, the NZ and UK climates are generally similar, at least in the south of the UK, and both countries have very little existing agroforestry, unlike continental European countries, some of which have hundreds of thousands of hectares of agroforestry – both new and old – some going back to medieval times such as the Dehesa in Spain.

Updating the GREATsoils project and

The interest in soil health / quality continues to grow beyond the alt-ags.  The GREATsoils (Growing Resilient Efficient And Thriving) soils program (highlighted in the 2017 V1 Bulletin) is starting to put out an increasing range of valuable information.  A key piece of work was a farmer / grower let comparison of the growing range of soil tests – from in-field ‘spade tests’, such as the NZ developed Visual Soil Assessment (VSA), worm counts, infiltration rates and compaction tests, through to laboratory based analysis of soil biology.  I was particularly interested how producers found different tests suited different production systems.  I also particularly like the video on best practice subsoiling – it even beats the classic textbook “Soil Management” by Davis Eagle and Finney, which is saying a lot – if you subsoil, you need to watch this video.  They are also building a website to hold the resources called, which they have unashamedly copied the design from (why reinvent the wheel..) which is also a cracker – particularly their fact sheet collection, which really gets deep down and dirty into the technical aspects of soil quality – as much, if not more, than you need to know as a farmer / grower.

DIVERSify: Designing InnoVative plant teams for Ecosystem Resilience and agricultural Sustainability

Another plant mixture project from the EU that is worth keeping an eye on, that is aiming to develop systems to maximise the benefits of plant species mixtures – i.e., moving beyond the suck-it-and-see approach to trying to be able to predict which mixtures will work best in a given situation.  I’ll report back as the project develops.  Go to their website.

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