Western Europe is one of the most productive arable regions in the world and this productivity helps ensure both regional and global food security. A stable temperate oceanic climate has been a key factor contributing to productive farming although recent unusual weather patterns in North West Europe indicate that farmers can no longer rely on a settled climate. Although relatively extreme weather patterns have always been an occasional feature of the region, the frequency at which extremes occur has increased markedly since the turn of the century. This has coincided with a plateauing of yields for a number of important crops which may, in part, be a reflection of changing climate.
Climatic uncertainty adds to challenges faced by farmers when choosing how to manage their crops. At the same time, there is increasing pressure on farmers to cut GHG emissions and to act as stewards for the agricultural environment. Farmers need to find adaptations that provide a buffer against a range of extremes whilst meeting the requirements placed on them by society, not least of which is production of nutritious food. With these challenges in mind this conference seeks to explore agronomic management of key temperate crops in the near future.
Cropping and the Environment Group