In the chart below we see the average yields in key cereal crops wheat, barley and oats in Chile from This figure is based on the combination of two datasets: data from is based on figures in Engler and del Pozo , which has been combined with UN Food and Agricultural Organization statistics from onwards.
Also shown on this figure are specific technological, economic or policy events which are likely to have influenced the change in cereal yields over this period—these events have been highlighted by Engler and del Pozo Our data on agricultural yields across crop types and by country are much more extensive from onwards. The FAO report yield values as the national average for any given year; this is calculated by diving total crop output in kilograms or tonnes by the area of land used to grow a given crop in hectares.
There are likely to be certain regional and seasonal differences in yield within a given country, however, reported average yields still provide a useful indication of changes in productivity over time and geographical region. In the chart below we see the change in average yield for key crop commodities since The agricultural production index PIN use here is the sum of agricultural commodities produced after deductions of quantities used as seed and feed.
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It is weighted by the commodity prices. The idea for this chart is taken from Ausubel, Wernick, and Waggoner Countering the global rise of population and affluence by parents and workers, consumers and farmers restrained the expansion of arable land by changing tastes and lifting yields. The noticeable shrinkage in the extent of cropland as a function of the Crop Production index since Figure below provides encouragement that farmers will continue sparing land.
In the chart below we see index trends in cereal production, yield, land use and population measured from i.
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From to , global cereal production has increased by percent. If we compare this increase to that of total population which increased only percent over the same period , we see that global cereal production has increased at a much faster rate than that of population. If distributed equally, cereal production per person has increased despite a growing population. Have we achieved this through land expansion or improved yields? A bit of both. Overall, this means we use less land per person than we did fifty years ago.
Despite a notable expansion of agricultural land in the early s, over the last few decades land use for cereal production has increased only marginally.
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Most of our improvements in cereal production have arisen from improvements in yield. The average cereal yield has increased by percent since Today, the world can produce almost three-times as much cereal from a given area of land as it did in There is therefore an important relationship between yields improvements and land use.
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Increasing yields reduces the pressure of expanding agricultural land. In the chart below, we see the indexed change in land area used for cereal production from on the y-axis , measured against the indexed change in cereal yield over the same period on the x-axis. In these trends we see large regional differences in this yield-land use trade-off. Most European, American both North and Latin American , Asian and Pacific countries have seen a much larger increase in cereal yields relative to area used for production. For many, changes in the arable land have been minimal or have declined.
This is an important contrast to Africa where results are more mixed. Some countries, including Ethiopia, Nigeria and Algeria have followed the rest of the world in yield increases. However, a failure to increase agricultural productivity in many Sub-Saharan countries has led to large increases in land used for cereal production.
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This trade-off between land use for agriculture and yields is very clearly exemplified in a comparison between cereal production in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Calls are recorded for quality purposes. Share on Facebook Tweet LinkedIn. What is ibuprofen and how is it used?
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