Articles (articles are listed by latest first)


Denis J Murphy
In March 2018, an account of a remarkable experiment involving millions of smallholder farmers in China was published in the journal Nature by Cui et al. (Nature 555, 363-66, doi 10.1038/nature25785; 2018). The aim was to provide bespoke evidence-based advice to farmers on how to increase crop yields without the excessive use of fertilizers as has occurred in the past. Over the past thirty years the yield and efficiency of agricultural production in China have increased …


Ensuring the safety and reliability of foods and other products in agricultural supply chains. A case study involving vegetable oils.

Kirstie A Goggin,
Denis J Murphy
Summary The growing complexity of global supply chains means that ensuring the safety and authenticity of food and non-food agricultural products is an ever-increasing challenge. This article focuses on fats, which, together with proteins and carbohydrates, make up the bulk of the human diet. Over 86% of globally consumed edible fats are plant-derived (or vegetable) oils. In contrast, animal-derived fats account for about 14% of worldwide oil and fat consumption, mostly in developed …


Notes on factors to be considered concerning the financial effect of Brexit on British agricultural production

Professor Sir John Marsh
From Article 50 & Agriculture. March 2017 CARAS Bulletin No.47, pp.2-3  Professor Sir John Marsh, CBE, FRAgS offered the following key practical points to consider post-Brexit:  1. At what price in sterling will imports be available?  a. Since prices are set in dollars we need a perspective on $/£ rates and on world market prices.  b. We know that prices will be volatile. In real terms they seem more likely to rise modestly in the long term.  2. At what price will …


Editor’s comments

Dr David Frape
The three papers to follow (#1806 to #1808) are by Professor Sir John Marsh, by Kirstie Goggin and Professor Murphy and the third by Prof. Murphy. The first is short notes on the subject of finance and how Brexit is expected to lower food costs by removing barriers to international trade. To what extent is this likely to influence British agricultural production? There are some intriguing points that must be considered, raised by Sir John. The second paper is by Professor Murphy and …


The functions and sizes of the five carbon sinks on planet Earth and their relation to climate change. Part 4. Is the criticism of pastured beef cattle justified, or is there a question over the source of the carbon?

Dr David Frape
SUMMARY A  carbon sink  is a natural or artificial reservoir that accumulates and stores some  carbon -containing chemical compound for an indefinite period. The process by which carbon sinks remove carbon dioxide ( CO 2 ) from the atmosphere is known as  carbon sequestration . The five major sinks are: 1) fossil fuels and carbonate rocks; 2) forests; 3) soils, including non-woody plants; 4) the oceans and 5) the atmosphere. The distinction is arbitrary…


Sustainable intensification

Professor Sir John Marsh
Summary There is the prospect of a global population of 9 billion by mid 21st Century. Rising real levels of income, growing constraints on food production from climate change and alternative land use together with an accelerating rate of consumption of non-renewable natural resources in all sectors are likely to restrict food production. This has led commentators to say that the only way to feed the future population is a move towards sustainable intensification. However, this is …


Editor’s Note

Dr Tina Barsby, Chief Executive Officer of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany & East Malling Research (NIAB EMR)  and a member of our Editorial Board of World Agriculture is awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to agricultural science and biotechnology in her Majesty the Queen’s New Year’s Honours. The Editorial Board is delighted as the award is richly deserved.


The functions and sizes of the five carbon sinks on planet Earth and their relation to climate change. Part 3, temperate Deciduous Broad-leaved forests- do they have a role in global warming?

Dr David Frape
Summary The comparison of deciduous broad-leaved (DB) with coniferous evergreen (CE) forests, in respect of biodiversity and their effect on climate change, is restricted, as many published comparisons are made between these two forest types in different locations and latitudes. We have therefore compared each forest type with grassland in the same location to draw conclusions about their relative values at the latitudes of the UK- 50 o N-60 o N. The majority of forest carbon, …


Book review and comment. Robert Cook

Genetically Modified Organisms in Developing Countries: Risk analysis and Governance. Ed. Ademola A Adente, E Jane Morris and Denis J Murphy. Cambridge University Press, 2017; ISBN 978-1-107-15191-8, Hardback; DOI 10.1017/9781316585269.  Background Agricultural technology attracts emotional reactions from many groups of people who feel food should be pure and traditional, despite widespread adoption of technical advances in other aspects of life.  This is especially true in the case …


Crop Diversity for Human Nutrition and Health Benefits- I

A Comment by Professor Sir John Marshᵼ This paper draws attention to the important role of diversity in terms of human nutrition. The increased availability of a limited number of cereals has resulted in a situation in which a small number of crops provide most of the food most people eat. This has led to increasing concerns about human diets being energy rich but nutrient poor. Although satisfying hunger they lack some essential minerals and vitamins.  One approach to enrich diets is …


Crop Diversity for Human Nutrition and Health Benefits

Sayed Azam-Ali,
Susan Azam-Ali,
Professor Peter J. Gregory
Crops For the Future (CFF), Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia Summary Alongside dramatic increases in crop production over the last 50 years, global food systems have become more dependent on a few major `staple’ crops - just three cereals now provide about 60% of plant-based human energy intake. There is compelling evidence that diverse diets that include fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries, as well as staples, are instrumental in optimising human …


Methods for Increasing Sustainability of Agro-ecosystems Based on the Ecological Footprint in China

Li Li,
Liang Long,
Zhao Guishen
(College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China) Abstract: Sustainability of agro-ecosystems plays an important role in regional ecological safety and food security. As an ecological accounting tool, the ecological footprint (EF) is widely adopted to assess the sustainability of a given region, nation or industrial sector. As a virtual area, the EF initially does not reflect the real ecological conditions of the home region. …


Ecological Footprint (EF) must not exceed its Biocapacity to ensure the sustainability of life!

Robert Cook,
Dr David Frape
Comment on Guishen et al. 1 Guishen et al. 1 demonstrate that Beijing City, which has a population of 27 million, has an ecological deficit equivalent to >24 Mha. Using the concept of global hectares (gha) as the area needed to support each hectare, they show that China is more sustainable than the rest of the world, as each hectare uses 1.74 ha of global resource, compared with an estimate for the world of 2.51 ha. These estimates include fuel and other forms of …


Biodiversity and renewable resources are essential to sustain the Earth

Robert Cook,
Dr David Frape
A comment on papers by Gregory et al . 2 and Guishen et al . 3 Two papers in this Issue concern world food resources from entirely different angles. Previously in this Journal Cook and Frape 1 examined the potential regional food production and related this to Man’s minimum nutrient requirements. They found that global food production at present was adequate when considered only as sources to meet the minimum dietary requirements for energy and protein, although there was a …


Systems, scientific strategy and sustainability

Professor Sir John Marsh
Much scientific effort is devoted to decompressing identified objects or phenomena into component pieces. This has given rise to technologies that act on quite small parts of a whole to produce significant changes within it. GM technology, revered or hated, provides a growing contemporary example. Such insights are immensely important but they only become effective within systems of which they are a part. There are multiple systems but two of them form the basis for the paper by Zhao, …


Professor Richards awarded prestigious Medal

Dr David Frape
Professor R. H. Richards, C.B.E, a long standing member of the Editorial Board of World Agriculture has been awarded the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' Queen's Medal.  A renowned fish vet. Professor R. H. Richards, CBE,MA, Vet.MB, Ph.D, C.Biol, FRSB, FRSM, MRCVS, FRAgS, was is the recipient of this year’s Queen’s Medal, the highest honour the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) can bestow upon a veterinary surgeon. There have been only two previous recipients of this …


Obituary – Professor Sir John Marsh CBE, 1931-2017

Dr David Frape
Sir John died on the 30th September, 2017. Professor Sir John Marsh was one of a very small band of the World’s outstanding agricultural economists over the past thirty years.  In 2011 he was awarded the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s National Agricultural Award in recognition of a career that spanned more than 50 active years.  During this time, Sir John had a huge impact on the agricultural industry. He was Professor of Agricultural Economics and Management at the Universit…


Editor's note

Dr David Frape
This group of publications (#1714 to #1722) includes the sad news of the death of our good friend and colleague, Professor Sir John Marsh. John has been a constant source of inspiration to our group and has worked hard for our Journal from the first day in 2003, when the group commenced its activities, to the last. We are very pleased to record the achievement of Professor Randolph Richards, a colleague also on our Editorial Board, who has been awarded the Royal College of Veterinary …


Adapting Agriculture to Changing Climate in South Asia

Professor Pramod K Aggarwal,
Dr Arun Khatri-Chhetri
Associate Scientist, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Borlaug Institute of South Asia (BISA), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), New Delhi, 110012, India. 2 Regional Program Leader, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Borlaug Institute of South Asia (BISA), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), New Delhi, 110012, India. Summary …


Disposal of N waste during water deprivation in birds and bats

Dr David Frape
Note to readers of this editorial : tropical insectivorous bats are important for insect control! Would any reader who has a knowledge of the mechanisms of bat’s excretion of nitrogen waste or of N metabolism by bats, please comment to the editor of World Agriculture- we should be happy to publish any useful comments under your name. Water is the most critical nutrient for both plant and animal life- to maintain cellular osmotic pressure, for transport of metabolites and as the medium in …