A 60% increase in agricultural production is required by 2050 to feed the growing global human population. The rapid increases in crop yields achieved post-1950 through crop breeding advances and farming inputs are now starting to plateau. At the same time, there is pressure on farmers to produce food sustainably with fewer inputs due to decreased availability of products for effective pest and disease control and to minimise environmental damage.
This poses a significant challenge for maximising productivity and reducing losses, creating an urgent need to increase the efficiency and sustainability of agriculture in Europe and globally. There is no single solution to this challenge. Crop scientists must devise novel cropping systems for farmers to increase efficiency and reduce pollution, breeders need new knowledge and tools to develop suitable cultivars, and agronomists need specifications to manage these cropping systems effectively.