This case study focuses on improving milling (bread) wheat quality in northern Italy.
VALERIE themes covered;
1. Crop rotation, soil cover management and integrated pest management ►
2. Eco-system and social services in agriculture and forestry ►
5. Integrated supply chain services and tools, innovative farm management ►
In the province of Alessandria, northern Italy, bread wheat is one of the most important crops and is grown on c. 37 thousand hectares, equal to 30% of all arable land. All members of the supply chain play an important role in achieving bread wheat quality targets.
Location: Alessandria Province, northern Italy
Main land use: arable production and viticulture
Stakeholders: farmers, co-operatives offering storage facilities, millers of various sizes and capacity, seed and pesticides companies (retailers and producers)
o Rapid methods for assessing grain quality:
Easy guidelines to use the rapid method for quality assessment of wheat samples at the co-operative
o Agricultural practices to reduce inputs and increase quality:
Innovative agricultural practices in relation to fertiliser application, pest and disease management and tillage
How to control weeds using conservation management techniques
o Economic evaluation of innovative practices:
The benefits of using pre-treated seeds vs self-produced seeds
Case study updates:
• A kick off meeting was held in summer 2014 where problems and innovation needs were identified. Field demonstrations are planned to start in summer 2015.
• A second meeting was held in late January 2015 with stakeholder members from the whole supply chain present; seed companies, storage co-operatives, farmers & advisors. The three most relevant VALERIE innovation factsheets to the case study were reviewed via a questionnaire and working groups. A field demonstration/trial topic was chosen by the stakeholders from a pre-identified list, with many stakeholders offering their farms or premises for the work.
• The annual Alessandria County wheat conference took place on the 21st September 2015. More information (in Italian) can be found at http://www.cadirlab.it/evento/convegno-frumento-2015
• Issues to be addressed in the field trials:
o Rapid methods for assessing grain quality
o Easy guidelines to use the rapid method for quality assessment of wheat samples at the co-operative
o Validation and accuracy of the rapid methods
• The trial will be carried out in fields and venues provided by the stakeholders (farmers, co-operatives & millers). The trial aims are:
o To improve the supply chain of bread wheat in Alessandria County with methods and tools to assess quality before harvest in order to help:
- farmers assess the most suitable time to harvest and the quality parameters of their products (protein, humidity, specific weight and mycotoxins), so that they can understand the price before the delivery
- co-operatives to sort grain lots before delivery and to select the best producers for contracts and other agreements
• The trial started in June 2015.
• The first results from the field demonstrations were communicated to stakeholders from the wheat supply-chain during the annual Alessandria Conference on wheat quality, held in September 2015.