Exploring the impacts of drought on UK crops at Harper Adams University Newport, Shropshire – 24th May 2016

Polytunnel June 22nd 2015The DRY project (Drought Risk and You) is exploring how science and narrative can interact in drought-risk decision-making. On the 24th May 2016, the DRY team has invited farmers and others with interests in drought impacts on crops (including the NFU and United Kingdom Irrigation Association) to visit crop experiments being undertaken at Harper Adams University.  During the day, we are keen that farmers have the opportunity to share their memories, experiences and knowledge about the impacts of drought and water scarcity on their farming so that their experiential knowledge can come into play with the evidence from the scientists.

In scene setting, Dr Ragab Ragab (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford) will discuss our drought risk modelliing  with its implications for agriculture. The farmers and the DRY team will then visit the crop experiments and discuss the wider impacts of drought and water scarcity on Wheat, Barley, Triticale, Durum Wheat, Quinoa, Perennial Rye Grass and Lucerne. Dr Ivan Grove (Harper Adams University) will share the results of his first year of mesocosm experiments, within controlled water regimes comparing the Central England 50 year average rainfall and rainfall based on the rainfall for the CO2 high emissions scenario for 2050.  The experiments are planned to continue for three years – with crops being rotated as per field use the rainfall patterns continuing throughout that time. The crops will experience water deficit from year to year to mirror both winter/spring and summer/autumn predicted changes.

This field visit will be followed by group discussion about the implications of this research for the UK agriculture sector, business and the public . Key questions include: Is agricultural drought risk management about changing the water regime of existing crops or changing to new crops or indeed both?  The use of new crops not only  has implications for UK agriculture but also involves changes in diet of the UK population. The event will  be filmed by JackPerksPhotography and shared online as a prompt  for further discussion after the visit.  Further information about the experiments can be obtained from Dr Ivan Grove (igrove@harper-adams.ac.uk).

The DRY project is working with a range of stakeholders on the impacts of drought and water scarcity in seven case-study catchments – the Cornwall Fowey, Bristol Frome, Welsh Ebbw, Wiltshire Pang, Bevills Leam in the Fenlands, Sheffield Don and Fife Eden. To find out more, please see www.droughtproject.co.uk, follow the project @Project_DRY or contact us by emailing DRY@uwe.ac.uk.

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