Tools to improve farm sustainability assessments

Farm landscape
Copyright INRAE and Springer-Verlag

Assessing farm sustainability provides an overview of the various impacts that agriculture has on society. Scientists Chopin et al. recently reviewed 119 tools published to assess farm sustainability. They described 5 groups from stakeholder participation and models used, identified 7 sustainability frameworks utilizing 27 indicators about drivers, pressures or states of the system, but found a lack of impact indicators. They call on developing a novel sustainability framework taking account of agronomic productivity, governance and resilience of farming systems.

Analysis of wheat yield gaps in Ethiopia

Wheat field
Copyright Silva et al.

In Ethiopia, wheat yields must increase substantially to accommodate population and dietary changes. Scientists Vasco Silva et al. measured the influence of water, suboptimal inputs, crop management, and technology on yield gaps. They attributed 50% of the yield gap to a lack of technology. They estimated, however, that if more inputs were added and used more efficiently, fine-tuning current management practices could double yields and achieve wheat self-sufficiency without increasing crop area.