Yields

OWID presents work from many different people and organizations. When citing this entry, please also cite the original data source. This entry can be cited as:

Max Roser (2016) – ‘Yields’. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/yields/ [Online Resource]

 

# Empirical View

# Yields in the UK over the Very Long Run

# Estimates of British wheat yield, 1200-1800 – Amthor (1998)1

Year(s)Yield (g per square meter)Notes and source
1209-134939-76Range of individual-manor averages in the bishopric of Winchester (Titow, 1972, p. 148)
1200-145054-57British average `guess' by Bennett (1935 )based on analysis of William Beveridge's summary
1243-4828Combe, Oxfordshire (Curtler, 1909, p. 33)
125033-55Estimates by Walter of Henley as cited by Curtler (1909), p. 33
1271-9955Seven manors in Essex and Hertfordshire (Farmer, 1983)
1290-130655Manor of Forncett, from Davenport's A Norfolk Manor as cited by Curtler (1909), p. 33
1260-135082Mean of 20 manors in eastern Norfolk, called "exceptional by the standards of the day" (Campbell, 1983)
1300-2448Seven manors in Essex and Hertfordshire (Farmer, 1983)
1300-24113Prior of Norwich's manor at Martham in Norfolk (Campbell, 1983)
1325-4953Mean of county averages in the bishopric of Winchester manors (Titow, 1972, p. 149)
1325-4946Seven manors in Essex and Hertfordshire (Farmer, 1983)
1333-3422-88Manor records mentioned by Rogers in Agriculture and Prices as cited by Percival (1934, p. 40)
1350-8044Seven manors in Essex and Hertfordshire (Farmer, 1983)
1381-141049Seven manors in Essex and Hertfordshire (Farmer, 1983)
1390-140044Good years at Hawsted demesne (manor) on "land, usually better tilled than non-demesne land" (Curtler, 1909, p. 67)
1396-9739Bishopric of Winchester manors, from Gras' The Evolution of the English Corn Market as cited by Percival (1934), p. 40
1400-2469Prior of Norwich's manor at Martham in Norfolk (Campbell, 1983)
150044-55A `normal crop' (Percival, 1934, p. 40)
1560-6962Hertfordshire (Glennie, 1988)
1570-80101-134`Well tilled and dressed' fields, based on Harrison's Description of Britain as cited by Curtler (1909), p. 91
160088`Common fields' according to Maxey (1601) as cited by Percival (1934), p. 41
1630-3963Hertfordshire (Glennie, 1988)
1642-4781-108A `good crop' according to Hartlib (1651) as cited by Percival (1934)
167095Surrey (Bowden, 1985)
168893East Anglia, from Overton (1983) as cited by Turner (1984)
1685-9567-103British average from Bennett (1935)based on Gregory King's statistics
1690-9976Hertfordshire (Glennie, 1988)
170083East Anglia, from Overton (1983) as cited by Turner (1984)
170054-134England and Wales (Overton, 1984)
171076East Anglia, from Overton (1983) as cited by Turner (1984)
1712107Normal season... at Southwick in Hants" (Curtler, 1909, p. 165, citing Hampshire Notes and Queries)
1715-65134`About the average' (Curtler, 1909, p. 179)
1726134+Enclosed lands (Curtler, 1909, p. 165, citing John Lawrence's New System of Agriculture)
173099East Anglia, from Overton (1983) as cited by Turner (1984)
1750108Probable British average (Beckett, 1990, p. 57)
1750-6099-116British average from Bennett (1935) based on Charles Smith's statistics
1750-70121Holderness (1989)
1760-7094-181England and Wales (Overton, 1984)
177081Average crop on poor land, from Arthur Young's Rural Economy as cited by Curtler (1909), p. 197
1770188Average crop on good land, from Arthur Young's Rural Economy as cited by Curtler (1909), p. 198
1770155From Arthur Young as cited by Curtler (1909), p. 285
1782134-168`Average' in Surrey (Curtler, 1909, p. 180)
late 1700s134-168County Agricultural Surveys as cited by Percival (1934)
1794112-116Thirty-four parishes in Northamptonshire (Turner, 1986)
1794113English average, but poor year (Turner, 1982)
1795100-110Thirty-four parishes in Northamptonshire (Turner, 1986)
1795105English average, but poor year (Turner, 1982)
1790-1800131English average for average year (Turner, 1982)
1795-1800144+Holderness (1989)
1800147`A very deficient harvest' (Holderness, 1989)

Prior to the end of WWII, yields of wheat, barley, oats, and potatoes in the United Kingdom grew very little.

# Yields of main crops and milk in the United Kingdom, 1884-2008 – Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010)2
Yields of main crops and milk, United Kingdom (1884-2008) – Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010)0

# Increasing Yields since the Onset of Modernity around the World

# US average corn grain yields, 1863-2002 – Russell and Sandall3
US Average Corn Grain Yields, (1863-2002) – Russell and Sandall0

# Farm grain yields (national averages) of wheat throughout the century in 21 countries, since 1900 – Calderini, Slafer (1998)4
Farm grain yields (national averages) of wheat throughout the century in 21 countries (since 1900) – Calderini, Slafer (1998)

 

# Average grain yield of small-grain cereals in Chile, 1927-2009 – Engler and del Pozo (2013)5

Average grain yield of small-grain cereals in Chile from 1927 to 2009 – Engler and del Pozo (2013)0

# Yields since 1960

There is much more data available for the time after 1960.

# Average global yields for selected crops, 1961-2007 – Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010)6

Average global yields for selected crops, (1961-2007) – Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010)0

# Cereal yields in different world regions, 1960-2004 – World Development Report (2008)7Cereal Yields in Different World Regions (1960-2004) – World Development Report (2008)0

# Canadian crop yields, 1960-2007 (base 1960:1964 = 100) – Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010)8

Canadian crop yields, (1960-2007) (base 1960-1964 src=

# Crop yields measured as weighted averages of yields for wheat, rice, and coarse crops by world regions, 1961-2010 – World Development Report (2013)9

Crop Yields measured as Weighted Averages of Yields for Wheat, Rice, and Coarse Crops, by World Regions (1961-2010) – World Development Report (2013)0

# World Maps of Crop Yields in the Present World

# Regional potato yield – Wikimedia [Original source Monfreda, Ramankutty, Foley (2008)]10

Regional Potato Yield – Wikimedia0

# Crop yields in tons per hectare per harvest (wheat, maize, rice & Soybeans) – Monfreda, Ramankutty, Foley (2008)11

Crop yields in tons per hectare per harvest (Wheat, Maize, Rice, & Soybeans) – Monfreda, Ramankutty, Foley (2008)0

The Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota produced a beautiful world map of the current yields. It can be compared with the world map of the yield gap (the difference between the current yields and the full yield potential). It is online here.

# Correlates, Determinants & Consequences

# Determinants of Yields

Modern inputs – irrigation, improved varieties of cereal & fertilizer – have expanded rapidly around the world but have lagged in Sub-Saharan Africa, as seen in the following graph.

# Irrigation, improved varieties of cereal & fertilizer use by world region, 1962, 1982 and 2002 – World Development Report (2008)12Modern inputs – Irrigation, Improved Varieties of Cereal, & Fertilizer – have expanded rapidly around the world but have lagged in Sub-Saharan Africa (1962, 1982, 2002) – World Development Report (2008)0

# Consequences of Higher Yields

# World cereal yield and area harvested per capita, 1951-1993 – Dyson (1996)13
World cereal yield and Area Harvested per Capita, (1951–93) – Dyson (1996)0

In the absence of a green revolution, poverty remains high in agrarian economies, as seen below.

# Cereal yield improvement and poverty headcount in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, 1981-2001. – World Development Report (2013)14
In the Absence of a Green Revolution, Poverty Remains High in Agrarian Economies (1981-2001) – World Development Report (2013)0

Expansion of cereal production has followed very different paths in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Land use for cereal production has remained about the same in Asia, but yield has increased dramatically. Almost the opposite is true in Sub-Saharan Africa over the last few decades.

# Yield vs. land use in cereal production for Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa – World Development Report (2008)15
Expansion of cereal production has followed very different paths in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia – World Development Report (2008)0

# Data Quality & Definition

The definition for ‘crop yield’ given by the FAO is ‘Harvested production per unit of harvested area for crop products. In most of the cases yield data are not recorded but obtained by dividing the production data by the data on area harvested. Data on yields of permanent crops are not as reliable as those for temporary crops either because most of the area information may correspond to planted area, as for grapes, or because of the scarcity and unreliability of the area figures reported by the countries, as for example for cocoa and coffee.’16

Footnotes

  1. This is taken from Amthor (1998) – Perspective on the relative insignificance of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration to crop yield. Field Crops Research. Volume 58, Issue 2, 4 August 1998, Pages 109–127. Online here.

    Anthor (1998) notes that ‘years are approximate in some cases’ and that ‘measures of wheat harvested and the area of fields varied significantly over time and location in Britain’. For further information on the conversion of units etc. see the original publication.

  2. This is taken from Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010) – The Shifting Patterns of Agricultural Productivity Worldwide, CARD-MATRIC Electronic Book, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, The Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research and Information Center, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Available online here.

  3. This is taken from Russell and Sandall (2005?) – Corn Breeding: Lessons From the Past – Overview and Objectives. Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary. Online here.

    The very long run history of corn is fascinating; the origins are unclear and subject to scientific discussion. Most likely it originated from a grass. Here is the above cited source on the question ‘What are the Origins of Corn?’.

  4. This is taken from Calderini, Slafer (1998) – Changes in yield and yield stability in wheat during the 20th century
    Field Crops Research, Volume 57, Issue 3, June 1998, Pages 335–347. Online here.

  5. This is taken from Engler and del Pozo (2013) – Assessing long- and short-term trends in cereal yields: the case of Chile between 1929 and 2009. Ciencia e investigación agraria. Vol.40 no.1 Santiago Apr. 2013.  Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

    Online here.

    Specific events are marked with arrows for wheat (a) and are similar for barley and oat (b)

  6. This is taken from Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010) – The Shifting Patterns of Agricultural Productivity Worldwide, CARD-MATRIC Electronic Book, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, The Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research and Information Center, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Available online here.

    The note by the original authors is: ‘[The] figure plots average global yields for corn, rice, and wheat (in metric tons per harvested hectare) since 1961 (the earliest year for which global yield estimates are reported by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO], whence most of these data were drawn). Corn and wheat yields each grew by a factor of 2.6 from 1961 to 2007; over the same period, rice yields increased by a factor of 2.2.’

  7. This is taken from World Bank (2008) – World Development Report (2008): Agriculture for Development. Washington, DC: World Bank. Online here.

  8. This is taken from Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010) – The Shifting Patterns of Agricultural Productivity Worldwide, CARD-MATRIC Electronic Book, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, The Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research and Information Center, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Available online here.
    The original data source is the CANSIM Database.

  9. This is taken from World Bank (2013) – World Development Report 2013: Jobs. Washington, DC: World Bank. DOI: 10.1596/978-0-8213-9575-2. Online here.

    License by the original author under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0.

  10. This is taken from Wikipedia here.

    The original source is: Map of potato production (average percentage of land used for its production times average yield in each grid cell) across the world compiled by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment with data from: Monfreda, C., N. Ramankutty, and J.A. Foley. 2008. Farming the planet: 2. Geographic distribution of crop areas, yields, physiological types, and net primary production in the year 2000. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 22: GB1022

    The map is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

  11. This is taken from Monfreda, Ramankutty, Foley (2008) – Farming the planet 2. Geographic distribution of crop areas, yields, physiological types, and net primary production in the year 2000. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Volume 22, Issue 1, March 2008. Online here.

  12. This is taken from World Bank (2008) – World Development Report (2008): Agriculture for Development. Washington, DC: World Bank. Online here.

    The original sources given by my source are Evenson and Gollin 2003 and FAO 2006a.

  13. The source is Tim Dyson (1996) – Population and Food: Global Trends and Future Prospects. Routledge.

  14. This is taken from World Bank (2013) – World Development Report 2013: Jobs. Washington, DC: World Bank. DOI: 10.1596/978-0-8213-9575-2. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0. Online here.
    Original source given by my source: Christiaensen, Luc, and Lionel Demery (2007) – Down to Earth: Agriculture and Poverty Reduction in Africa. Washington, DC: World Bank.

  15. This is taken from World Bank (2008) – World Development Report (2008): Agriculture for Development. Washington, DC: World Bank. Online here.
    Note by the source: Each point represents a five-year average, starting with 1961–65 = 100.
    The original source of my source is the FAO.

  16. This is the definition given by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in their glossary that is online here.