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ZALF scientists present climate adaptation perspectives through new arable crops

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Durum wheat is a possible alternative for cultivation under climate change conditions

In the current webinar of the platform "Climate Change of the German Agricultural Research Alliance (DAFA)", new arable crops were discussed as adaptation options for crop production under climate change. Dr. Moritz Reckling and Prof. Claas Nendel from the Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), together with Prof. Ralf Bloch from HNE Eberswalde, led through a program presenting promising arable crops for the future of agriculture in Germany.

These crops are currently not grown in practice in Germany, or only to a limited extent. Great attention was paid here to durum wheat, which is at home in Mediterranean growing regions due to its drought tolerance and may soon - according to Dr. Stephan Knorre of the Thuringian State Office for Agriculture and Rural Areas - represent an alternative to soft wheat, which is widely grown in Germany. However, a considerable diversification of crop rotations is expected through the cultivation of grain legumes. Here, Mosab Halwani from ZALF presented the latest results on the cultivation of soybeans and chickpeas, and referred here to the potential of mixed cultivation, in which grain legumes and cereals are grown together in one field. Prof. Miriam Athmann from the University of Kassel took up this thread and brought herb crops, in particular spice and medicinal plants, into play as partners in mixed cultivation.

These crops currently play a minor role in Germany, although economic opportunities are opening up here due to the high demands on product quality. Agroforestry as a special form of mixed cultivation was discussed in this context as an instrument for cooling the agricultural landscape and shading arable crops in order to mitigate the stress peaks caused by heat and drought in crop production. The contributions, including a guest paper by Dr. John Kirkegaard of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on climate adaptation in agriculture in Australia, and the concluding summary by Prof. Bloch were followed by more than 200 participants.

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