Crop yields

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A crop's yield is the amount of food grown per unit of land.

There are 2 main reasons to want to increase crop yields:

  • Produce more food - which could help prevent hunger.
  • Use less farm land - which could help prevent deforestation.

Yields can be increased through innovation, farming methods, and/or by simply growing different crops.

The current situation

Crop yields are generally higher in richer countries.


Conventional agriculture

Characteristics include:

  1. Fertilizer
  2. Pesticides
  3. GMOs
  4. Heavy farm equipment
  5. Monoculture

The first 3 are generally considered the reason that rich countries get higher yields. Whereas monoculture might actually decrease yields due to less resiliance against pests (and the pesticides & GMOs are designed to compensate for this).

There may be alternatives to conventional agriculture, which get higher yields. This wiki doesn't have enough information on this yet.

Unanswered questions

Materially speaking, what is lacking in places with low crop yields?

Is it true that polyculture can produce higher yields than monoculture? If so, why isn't it more common?

How much nitrogen can legume crops 'fix' into the soil? How does it compare to the amount of nitrogen needed to maximize grain yields?

Some say that conventional agriculture only increases crop yields in the short term, and makes them worse in the long term. And that other farming practices such as regenerative agriculture are ultimately more productive. Is this true? What research/data can we gather to get a reasonably confident answer?

Join the discussion and help finish building this page!

Other ways to improve food supply