Improving crop yields

Greater progress in improving crop yields in the UK needs further support for farmer-lead innovation as well as empowering farmers to carry out their own on-farm testing to help optimise crop management for farms as well as increase farmer engagement on yield improvements.

Speaking last month at an event hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture, Dr Pete Berry, Head of Crop Physiology at ADAS said the organisation’s Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) have been successful in allowing farmers, researchers and advisors to come together, share ideas, develop new approaches for improving productivity, benchmark crop performance and understand yield constraints, but more could be achieved by focusing on farmer led activities.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture, is an important debate forum for UK politicians and agricultural stakeholders with the aim of recognising agricultural science innovation and identifying any policy, knowledge-based or regulatory barriers to its development and application. The theme for this particular session was the importance of delivering future productivity growth in British agriculture and the critical role of science and technology to that process.

Dr Berry’s talk focused on crop yield potential. He said UK yield potential is very high however this potential isn’t being fully realised with yields increasing slowly or not at all.