Have we found the way off the yield plateau?

They say necessity is the mother of invention and there is no doubt that the current cost:price squeeze has sharpened the focus of the arable industry. Increasing yield is one of the ways to reduce the cost of production per tonne.

So, is the fact that average wheat and barley yields both reached new records in 2015 a one-off due to a favourable growing season, or is it the beginning of a fundamental shift in arable performance? Are we actually just trying even harder, using more technology and a greater attention to detail? If so, how do we know which components of this extra effort are delivering cost effective improvements in yield?


Finding the answers to such questions is a key objective of our Monitor Farm programme and the reason why we’re looking at all the ingredients required to achieve higher yields in our winter meetings. Of equal importance is assessing the cost:benefit of each ingredient which we can do through our CropBench+ benchmarking tool.

So, if you’re interested in whether we have found a sustainable and cost effective route off the yield plateau, come and join the debate. For details of the meeting programme on each of our Monitor Farms in East Anglia, go to:cereals.ahdb.org.uk/monitor-farms



Tim joined AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds with more than 20 years of farm business experience in the East of England. Based at Huntingdon, Tim previously worked at the CLA, where he was Regional Adviser for the East of England. Trained in agricultural business management, Tim has also worked as a farm business consultant, specialising in the direct management of farms and contracting arrangements.