Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Yields

27 August 2020

On July 16, 2020, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Foresight4Food co-hosted the first of a series of eDialogues on the future of small-scale farming. The first session gave an overview of the challenges smallholders face and opportunities for improvement in yields and standards of living. A video recording and written summary (PDF link) of the event are now available online.

21 July 2020

FCRN member Allison Gacad has written this article on how epigenetic modification of plants could enhance food security by enabling crops to activate or deactivate certain genes depending on environmental conditions.

21 July 2020

This report from the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations reviews trends in food production and consumption, with a focus on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It finds that meat production is likely to contract in 2020 because of COVID-19, animal diseases and droughts, while seafood production has been affected by restaurant closures and restrictions on the operations of fishing fleets.

17 June 2020

The Food Systems Dashboard has been developed by Johns Hopkins University and The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. It brings together data on over 150 food system indicators, such as yields, climate, trade, dietary guidelines, non-communicable diseases and income. Users can compare regions and visualise indicators on a map.

9 June 2020

This paper by FCRN member Roger Leakey proposes a three-stage process to improve smallholder incomes, yields, nutrition and environmental performance in tropical agriculture, focusing on Africa. Leakey argues that food policies developed in industrialised nations do not always recognise that farming systems are very different across the world.

27 May 2020

This paper finds that global cropland use could be almost halved while maintaining current output levels by optimising fertiliser inputs and re-allocating the production location of 16 major crops. Co-benefits would include reduced emissions from fertilisers and rice paddies, lower irrigation water requirements, and land being freed up for sequestering carbon through restoring natural vegetation.

29 April 2020

According to this article in Quartz Africa, a new wave of desert locust swarms is forming in East Africa (including Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia). Wet conditions mean that the locusts are likely to continue to breed. It is feared that many farmers could lose their newly planted crops. Efforts to control the swarms through aerial spraying have been slowed by the coronavirus crisis.

29 April 2020

This book examines how the food system can adapt to be able to produce enough food in a changing climate. The authors present global policy options and list key foods that could help, including algae, caribou and kale.

3 March 2020

This paper reviews literature on the effects of environmental factors on the yields and nutritional qualities of fruit, nuts and seeds. In general, yields are expected to decrease under conditions of reduced water availability, higher ozone concentrations, temperatures above 28°C and higher water salinity. Berry and peanut yields respond positively to higher carbon dioxide levels, but this effect is reduced when temperatures also rise.

3 February 2020

This paper quantifies the economic impact of herbicide resistance developed by the weed Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass). It finds that the annual cost of this resistance is £0.4 billion each year in England, based on lost profit from lower crop yields. The global cost of herbicide resistance could be much higher, as there are 253 known herbicide-resistant weeds. 

3 February 2020

This paper used satellites to observe the effect on yield of conservation tillage practices, such as reducing soil disturbance and leaving crop residues in the field, in the United States Corn Belt. The researchers found that long-term conservation tillage (i.e. from 2008 to 2017) was associated with a 3.3% increase in maize yields and a 0.74% yield increase for soybeans.

9 December 2019

This briefing from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) notes that demand for five cereals in sub-Saharan Africa is set to almost triple by 2050. It argues that it is possible for the region to be self-sufficient in cereals by 2050 using only the current area of cereal farmland, but that this requires significantly higher fertiliser use. To keep greenhouse gas emissions to the minimum possible will require suitable crop varieties, careful nutrient management, optimum planting densities and protection of crops against weeds, pests and diseases.

2 December 2019

This paper finds that neonicotinoid use in rice paddies surrounding Lake Shinji in Japan was followed by a collapse in the fishery yields of smelt and eel, likely due to neonicotinoids reducing the abundance of zooplankton on which smelt and eels feed. The paper suggests that similar fishery yields decreases in lake across Japan could be linked to neonicotinoid use.

25 November 2019

This report, commissioned by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the National Trust and The Wildlife Trusts, examines how the profitability of upland farming systems can be increased at the same time as protecting the natural environment.

25 November 2019

This paper modelled the food system changes in Europe that would allow enough afforestation, reforestation and avoided deforestation to meet European climate targets while also providing enough food. Most scenarios relied on significant yield improvements and reductions in meat consumption.

19 November 2019

This paper presents a study of wheat farmers in India. Low-cost data from small satellites helped to map the results of spreading fertiliser either by hand or with a new spreader device that allowed more even application of fertiliser. 

29 October 2019

The 2019 edition of the Global Agricultural Productivity Report from Virginia Tech University emphasises the systemic nature of the many challenges facing food, health and environment and calls for increased agricultural productivity as a way of meeting future food demand sustainably.