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Yields of UK crops and livestock: physiological and technological constraints, and expectations of progress to 2050.(CTE0207) - IS0210

The rapid increases in UK farm yields since 1945 are well recognised. They are attributed in large part to concurrent strides in science and technology. The UK now has the capacity for self-sufficiency in food. For some species, it also competes well in world trade. Yields of some farmed species are still increasing, whilst yields of other species could be increased easily. In many cases, yield improvements are associated with undesirable trends, for example in environmental pollution, animal welfare or CAP expenditure. As government seeks to promote sustainable development into the future, its policy determination will require good assessments of changes in yield for crops and livestock over a significant timeframe.
This project aims to set out yield expectations for the main farmed species through to 2050. It will use (i) experts to summarise the literature, (ii) an International Conference, and (iii) a co-ordinated reviewing process to obtain the most authoritative views on yield limitations and expectations for government use.
Delivery to DEFRA will address: (i) estimates of yield potentials, based on physiological principles, (ii) the main constraints on yields on-farm, (iii) scenarios of changes to conditions for farming in 2010, 2020, and 2050 (taken from a parallel project under CTE0206), (iv) estimates of farm yields for each timeframe, and (v) a full description of the methodology used to estimate future yields, so that it becomes possible to revise the yield expectations, as circumstances change.
Scientific Objective:
To estimate the physiological potentials for yield improvement in eight major crop and livestock species farmed in the UK, to specify physiological and technological constraints on yield improvement, and provide estimates on how agriculture yields may change in future.
Technical Objectives:
1. Based on literature and data to hand, form initial estimates of the yield potentials of the major species farmed in the UK according to physiological and technological considerations.
2. Through an International Conference, collate and publish extant views on likely progress in on-farm yields of livestock and crops through to 2050.
3. Review and report to DEFRA the best consensus on yield potentials of the major crops and livestock farmed in the UK and the main factors expected to affect progress in yield through to 2050.

Project Documents
• Final Report : YIELDS OF UK CROPS AND LIVESTOCK: physiological and technological constraints, and expectations of progress to 2050   (306k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2005

Cost: £224,021
Contractor / Funded Organisations
ADAS UK Ltd., University - Nottingham
Arable Farming              
Climate and Weather              
Climate Change              
Environmental Protection              
Livestock Farming              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production