Anticipated and potential improvements in land productivity and increased agricultural inputs with intensification

May 2008

This study addresses past and feasible future improvements in land productivity world-wide to 2020. It considers the main commodity crops and those yielding biofuel feedstocks. It also considers available information and views on maximum crop yields, the role of intensification underlying productivity changes, and how agricultural inputs change with intensification.
The main aim of the work is to summarise and interpret publicly available data (e.g. from FAO, OECD, FAPRI, EUROSTAT and USDA) to facilitate an assessment of how global land production could respond by 2020 to increased demands, including for biofuel production. The study considers the major global commodity crops, and ligno-cellulosic feedstocks for second generation biofuel production. Geographic regions considered correspond to FAO-defined regions, including: Western Europe, Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Australasia (Oceania), Asia, and the Americas. Reference is made to important individual countries including Russia, Ukraine, China, India and also the UK.
Productivity projections to 2020 have been determined with low, moderate and high trajectories, according to views on what was considered feasible with, respectively, weak, normal and strong market, fiscal and regulatory influences. Insofar as appeared acceptable, projections were taken from authoritative, well-documented studies. As with all predictions, the projections are accompanied by significant uncertainties, and these have been enumerated.
Given that the study area has a diverse and prolific literature and that delivery was to tight a deadline, no guarantee can be given that all relevant data, information or views have been considered. It is inevitable that improvements to the projections could be improved with further time, information and consultation.

By: D. Kindred, R. Sylvester-Bradley, J. Garstang, R. Weightman, J. Kilpatrick(ADAS)

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