agricultural productivity

FAO says war increasingly hits farm households in Ukraine

One of every four rural Ukrainian households in an FAO survey said it has reduced or stopped agricultural production due to the Russian invasion, with the figure rising to 40 percent in some oblasts. Rural households account for roughly a third of Ukrainian agricultural output.

‘The truth is California does not have enough water’

California’s San Joaquin Valley is getting drier, hotter and more polluted as climate change intensifies, and its communities will need to embrace more equitable agricultural strategies in order to survive, according to local experts and political leaders.(No paywall)

Climate change slowed growth in agricultural productivity

Global agricultural productivity is 21 percent lower than it could have been without climate change, according to research published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Thursday. The reduction is the equivalent of losing seven years of the gains recorded in farm productivity since the 1960s, say the researchers.

Trump’s trade war knocks soybeans out of running for top U.S. crop for a decade

The neck-and-neck race between soybeans and corn for the title of No. 1 U.S. crop is over after one lap, with corn the victor and soybeans out of the running due to trade war with China. The USDA says corn will be the acreage king for years to come while soybeans recover slowly from the loss of sales to China, which used to buy one of every three bushels of U.S. soybeans.

Big farms account for a larger share of agricultural production

Large farms, with more than $1 million a year in gross income, nearly doubled their share of U.S. agricultural production in the past quarter-century, says USDA's Economic Research Service. As production shifted to larger farms, so did crop subsidies and crop insurance indemnities, says the ERS, which made the comparison on inflation-adjusted revenue figures.

One way to boost ag productivity in developing world: support women farmers

Women make up two-fifths of the agricultural work force in developing countries yet are often at a disadvantage in gaining access to land, credit, training and "inputs" such as seed and fertilizer, says the Farming First coalition. A research paper underlines that point by looking at differences in fertilizer use by women and men farmers.

Large family farms generate 42 percent of U.S. agricultural production

By far, the family-owned-and-operated farm is the prototype of U.S. agriculture: 99 percent of U.S. farms are family farms, say USDA economists. Increasingly, large family farms are the leading source of production; only 2.9 percent of them have more than $1 million a year in gross cash farm income but they deliver 42 percent of U.S. production.

To stay ahead, U.S. should double ag R&D spending, says report

U.S. spending on agricultural research has flat-lined and jeopardizes American standing as a leader in ag innovation while Brazil, China and India together out-spend the United States 2-to-1, according to a briefing paper by two University of Minnesota researchers. The paper calls "for a doubling of such spending ov

Productivity growth in world agriculture lags for third year

An annual report on global agriculture says productivity growth is stagnating in low-income countries at 1.3 percent, far below the 1.75-percent increase needed yearly to assure enough food and fiber for a world population forecast to be 9.7 billion in 2050. The Global Harvest Initiative, a coalition of agribusinesses and consulting groups, says the productivity rate is growing at 1.73 percent worldwide currently, the third year in a row that it has run below the target.

Obama links climate change and U.S. national security

A day after warning of potential disruptions worldwide due to climate change, President Obama signed a memorandum "establishing that the impacts of climate change must be considered in the development of national security-related doctrine, policies and plans," said the White House. The memorandum created a Federal Climate and National Security Working Group involving 20 agencies in the job of identifying security priorities affected by climate change and to share information about how to respond to it.

Re-thinking crop choice and land use to overcome climate change

Climate change is likely to reduce yields of major crops such as corn, wheat and rice on a large fraction of the world's cropland by mid-century, says a team of researchers from the University of Birmingham in Britain. "Large shifts in land-use patterns and crop choice will likely be necessary to sustain production growth rates and keep pace with demand," say the researchers in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

Fungal disease spreads in attack on bananas

A virulent fungal disease that attacks bananas "is now on a global conquest," says Quartz. "Since 2013, the lethal fungus has jumped continents, ravaging crops in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Australia."

Precision agriculture for small growers, high-value crops

Higher agricultural productivity is a key to meeting growing global demand for food, writes Yangxuan Liu, a doctoral candidate in agricultural economics at Purdue, in a blog on how improved technology could help small-scale farmers and the high-value crops they often grow.

Wild West days at the Big Data ranch

The big questions for the emerging Big Data era in agriculture will be resolved in the next couple of years, a panel of experts said on Tuesday, although none suggested the likely results.