Sunday, July 27, 2008

First week of own study in California

I have now been here in California for nearly a week. I have spent all week in the grape growing areas near San Francisco. I have been to Lodi and the Napa and Sonoma valleys, I am currently in Davis. I was able to get a quick introduction to some of the viticulture research that is being done here at UC Davis. Next week I will be flying to Idaho and from there going to Washington state.
Back home in the Barossa Valley it continues to be cold and rainy. We have had another 8.2mm of rain for the week and are now only about 12mm short of setting a 10 year record for July rainfall. It has also been very cold, 2 nights we recorded below zero temperatures and a couple of days only struggling up to 10C.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Back in Australia - for now

I have now been back in Australia for nearly a week. I have not been home, my family has been holidaying with me on the Gold Coast in Queensland. I have been enjoying some much cooler weather than we got in the Philippines and China, while my family has escaped the cold and rainy weather back home. Tomorrow they will be going back home, to normality and school, while I will be flying out to the San Francisco to start the solo stage of my Nuffield study. I will be away for another 8 weeks before I see home again. It has been faantastiic to catch up with my wife and family and have a bit of a chance to recharge my batteries before diving into my own study. I will try to update my blog a little more regularly, now that I am on my own.
Back at home in the Barossa it has been raining again this week. We have had approx. another 12.5mm of rain, we have now had our average rainfall for July - anything more this month is a much needed bonus, as we are still behind (by about 50mm) our average for the year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Post from the Philippines

Well our global focus program is winding up now. We have just left Manila on our way back to Australia. We stayed at the International Rice Research Institute. This was an very good place to end our world tour, considering how crucial rice is to so much of the worlds population and how much world rice stocks influence grain prices. We have seen how this institute is trying to improve rice yields to offset the increase in world population and at the same time, the reduction in area that is being planted. The photo shows rice paddy's in the Philippines, with a monsoonal shower in the background.
Back home in the Barossa it has been raining and quite cold again. We had about 26mm of rain for the week ending Fri. 11th July.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Flying in China

We are about to get on a domestic flight in China from Guangzhou to Nanjing. As is usual with our group, the flight is delayed, so I have a little time to update my blog. China is a country of contrasts, they are obviously expanding at a furious rate, but at the same time a lot of the farming is being done much like it has been done for hundreds of years. There are very few young farmers in this country - all the young people want to do is move to the cities and get jobs in the many factories here. Farming is considered a very low class occupation, until this attitude changes, I do wonder how China will be able to feed itself. The photo today shows fruit and vegetables for sale in one of the many wet markets we have seen here.
Back home it has been raining this week, not sure how much, looks like around about 10mm. our season is shaping up to be fairly dry - we will need a really wet month soon!