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LIFE Innocereal EU starts 2023 revolutionising sustainable cereal production

The European LIFE Innocereal EU project for the production of low-emission cereals in Europe is starting to make significant progress after its first six months.

The objective during the four years of the initiative is to find the way towards sustainable cereal production by developing and promoting innovative actions in soil management and the use of agrochemicals, as well as the inclusion of new technologies for the improvement of the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the production of common wheat, durum wheat and malting barley in all links of the value chain, from the farmer to the distribution, promoting environmental quality labelling that provides greater added value to the final product (bread, pasta and beer).

So far, the European project has carried out a selection and characterisation of the soil network in the seven demonstration farms that are part of the initiative, which are located in Andalusia, Aragon, Castilla-La Macha and Castilla y León. The search has been carried out by the Spanish Association of Conservation Agriculture (AEACSV), beneficiary of the project.

Likewise, both in the demonstration farms and in the Rabanales pilot farm of the University of Cordoba (UCO), field trials have been implemented with durum wheat, soft wheat and malting barley applying some of the Good Agricultural Practices included in the Manual developed by the UCO. This document aims to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of cereal production and focuses on the impact and mitigation of climate change.

In addition, and prior to the implementation of the field trials, Greenfield Technologies, another beneficiary of the project, carried out soil electrical conductivity mapping to develop variable fertiliser dosage maps and drone flights with a multispectral camera dating the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) prior to the application of a mulch fertiliser.

On the other hand, a variable distribution herbicide treatment bar has been set up using NIR technology, a task that is being carried out together with the company ATASA and UCO, an international manufacturer of agricultural machinery.

Another of the objectives of LIFE Innocereal EU is the development of quality and sustainability certification to improve the competitiveness of producers of common wheat, durum wheat and malting barley. The Spanish Association of Cereal Technicians (AETC), a beneficiary of the project, is already taking the first steps to achieve this with the drafting of a preliminary report assessing the socio-economic barriers at national and European level.

In addition, the LIFE Innocereal EU project was represented at the 34th AETC Technical Conference, held in Cordoba at the end of 2022, where every year all the links in the value chain meet to analyse the production reality of the cereal sector at national and international level.