Crop yield trends and variability in the EU

Andrea Zimmermann


Agreeing that increased future global food demand will have to be met by production intensification rather than land use expansion (e.g. Hertel, 2011), scientists have moved to empirically analyse the causes for differences between potentially attainable yields and actually realized yields – the yield gap (e.g. van Ittersum et al., 2013, Neumann et al., 2010). In the long run, we aim at disentangling the effects of biophysical, economic and political impacts and farmers’ response to them on crop yields by analysing yield gaps at regional scale in the European Union. Apart from generally improving our understanding of yield gaps and their drivers in the EU, our analysis will contribute to the integration of economic and biophysical models at a later stage of our research. As a first step towards an advanced yield gap analysis, the current paper will give an overview of yield developments in the EU27. The overview will be based on regional yield trend and yield variability estimates derived from socioeconomic panel data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). The analysis will continue and extend the work of Ewert et al. (2005) and Reidsma et al. (2009) in terms of drawing on single farm instead of country level/farm type data, including the new EU member states and most recent years (until 2011). The EU-wide analysis of yield trends and variability will serve as a basis for the later analysis of yield gaps.


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