Stagnating yields?

Maybe. In several countries the yield trends have flattened. The raising yields from the 1990s are history. It should not be so. Plant breeding has made progress. There is scope for increase. So – why this development?

In Sweden we have started a project to find out the reasons for this lack of development ant if possible suggest improvements. Several reasons are discussed: soil structure, soil compaction, declining organic matter, lack of good break crops, more stress on reducing costs than increase income, neglected drainage …..

The experiments on farmers fields show a better development, 2-3 tons or so above the statistical yields for winter wheat. 11-12 tons is not uncommon. So there is scope. It may be so that our shorter vegetation season compared to teh Continent to some extent is compensated by longer summer days and cooler weather reducing respriration losses.

Are higher yields important? At least 3 reasons can be put forward:

Global food requirement. Land is a scarce resource. Raising demands must be met to a great extent by higher yields.

High yields are essential for the competitiveness of Swedish agriculture.

High yields are advantageous for the soil and the environment, provided inputs etc are correctly adapted

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