How can greater crop diversity contribute on farm in the face of climate change?
You can now watch a recording of this meeting, held on Friday 11 November 2022.
Addressing climate change and its impact on cropping requires farmers considering alternative cropping to have confidence in profitable cropping outcomes. Diversifying crop species, whether in agriculture, horticulture or livestock farming, has the potential to increase farm resilience, reduce crop inputs and help improve the environment. There are an estimated 369,000 known species of flowering plants, but only about 7,000 have been cultivated for food, forage, fibre or fuels, with just 30 underpinning the world's food supply. In the UK, 75% of arable-farmed land is accounted for by three crops; wheat, barley and oilseed rape. Similarly, apples and strawberries account for a large proportion of the UK's fruit production, with carrots, onions and brassicas the leading vegetable crops. And a range of energy crops are gathering momentum following a slow start.
This Agritech Week event looked at some alternatives that are gaining interest across the country, considering both their potential but also drawbacks associated with crop species diversification and we will consider whether impact on - or due to climate change will help or hinder this journey.
Watch the recording of the meeting
- Introduction: What is crop diversity - what is the breadth of potential?
Lydia Smith, NIAB
- Willow; the good, the bad and the ugly
Neil Watkins, ENERGY Crops Consultancy Ltd 2020
- Miscanthus: delivering food and fuel in a net-zero farming system
Michael Squance, Terravesta
- Novel and mainstream fruit and nut crops
Felicidad Fernandez, NIAB
- Harnessing informatin from farmers and growers to understand life cycles and formulate IPM solutions
Colin Peters, NIAB
- Building value chains using novel crop products
Chloe Donovan, Natural Building Systems Ltd
- Seed industry - can we provide good genetic resources for new or rediscovered crops
Heather Oldfield, Elsoms Seeds Ltd
- Farmers view and discussion
Nick Sheppard, Upton Suffolk Farm