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26 December 2013 @ 02:28 pm
Peak Food  
Dramatic decline in industrial agriculture could herald 'peak food' [The Guardian]

Original Source: Distinguishing between yield advances and yield plateaus in historical crop production trends [Nature]
To summarize, we found widespread deceleration in the relative rate of increase of average yields of the major cereal crops during the 1990–2010 period in countries with greatest production of these crops, and strong evidence of yield plateaus or an abrupt drop in rate of yield gain in 44% of the cases (Table 1), which, together, account for 31% of total global rice, wheat and maize production (Table 2). The results strongly support the proposition that estimates of future cereal production should be derived from yield projections based on linear models, with breakpoints and plateaus to reflect the linear nature of the crop yield gains in an ascending phase during which modern crop management practices are adopted, and the existence of a biophysical upper limit for grain yield best estimated by robust crop simulation models.