G - Articles in popular magazines and other technical publications
Goulding, K. W. T., Trewavas, A. and Giller, K. E. 2011. Feeding the world: a contribution to the debate. Script Media.
|Authors||Goulding, K. W. T., Trewavas, A. and Giller, K. E.|
It is often claimed by proponents of organic farming that, if used worldwide, it would provide sufficient food for a growing world population.
Here we make a critical assessment of this claim for wheat, a major cereal crop and source of food throughout the world.
We have compared organic and conventional systems, examined some of the publications and claims in detail, and found a typical ratio of organic:conventional wheat yields of 0.65.
Nitrogen (N) fixation by legumes, the main source of N supply in organic systems, is shown to be much too small and variable to support large and consistent wheat yields.
Our conclusion agrees with that of a recent report by the University of Reading’s Centre for Agricultural Strategy that organic agriculture cannot feed the world using current technologies.
However, we believe that there is a need to reduce the over-optimal use of fertilisers and agricultural chemicals and to better manage crop rotations to reduce nutrient losses to the environment and crop losses to pests and diseases.
There is also a wider societal need to reconsider diet in the context of health and the ability of world agriculture to supply the wants of its anticipated 9 billion population.
|Keywords||Organic farming; Conventional farming; Sustainable food supplies; Nitrogen fixation; Legumes; Wheat|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Journal citation||2(1), pp. 32-38|
|Web address (URL)||http://www.world-agriculture.net/article/feeding-the-world-a-contribution-to-the-debate|
|Funder||Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council|
|Funder project or code||SEF|
|Maintaining soil resilience and function for sustainable land management|
|The 'Classical' experiments: Broadbalk and Park Grass [2001-2012]|
|Open access||Published as green open access|
|Online||18 Feb 2012|
Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/8q898/feeding-the-world-a-contribution-to-the-debate