In the afternoon of July 15th a delegation of three agricultural specialists of the US-Department of Agriculture (USDA) visited the JKI in Quedlinburg. On behalf of USDA’s International Production Assessment Division IPAD, located in Washington D.C., Bryan Purcell travels the north-eastern German federal states in order to learn about yield development in grain and rapeseed. IPAD’s task lies in assessing global crop conditions and world agricultural production, providing crop production maps based on recent data. Purcell was accompanied by Sabine Lieberz and Leif Erik Rehder, both senior agricultural specialists with the U.S. embassy in Berlin. The guests met with JKI President Professor Frank Ordon, JKI’s research coordinator Dr. Florian Bittner and Dr. Til Feike, who is working at the JKI-institute for Strategies and Technology Assessment. Dr. Feike presented his works on climate change impact assessment in wheat. Since the JKI is also well grounded in plant protection and breeding research the following long and lively discussion covered issues like the limited availability of pesticides, resistance management and alternative pest control, rise and fall of certain pests in rapeseed, cereals and sugarbeets, breeding new resistant varieties, the German program to enhance acreage of pulses (lupins, faba-beans) and the necessity to widen crop rotation.
Purcell’s excursion will take him to farmers associations, producers and analysts in Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Pommerenia. His schedule involves visiting Austria and the Chech Republik as well. His focus is on yield analysis in grains and rapeseed with respect to climate change and other changing conditions triggered by political decisions throughout Europe.