Crop Yield Versus Nutritional Quality

  • Crop yield versus nutritional value

Why should modern agriculture’s yield objective come at the expense of quality?

What if we could drive our yield and quality naturally from a finite land resource? The world will soon have 9 billion mouths to feed – yet land is a diminishing resource. How do we employ novel technologies to meet this great challenge?

Robbie Walker, general manager of Alltech Crop Science, discussed this timely topic at the 7th annual Alltech Global Dairy & Beef in Normandy, France, on how improved crop quality can lead to higher nutritional value in feed and forages and how increased energy per acre can result in more milk and daily live weight gain. Alltech Crop Science products are based on natural technologies derived from microbial fermentation and are designed to help farmers do just that.

“Modern agriculture’s objective of yield comes at the expense of quality,” Walker said.One apple today has 50 percent of the nutrients compared to 50 years ago. To receive the same amount of Vitamin A as my grandfather did 50 years ago by eating one orange, I would need to eat eight.”

Our foods have lost considerable amounts of nutrients, including grains and forages, he noted. The development of modern hybrids has resulted in maize with reduced protein content. While maximum tons of silage from every acre of land is often the target, perhaps we should be considering the nutritive value and quality of that ton of silage.

“What if we could re-imagine how we grow our crops?” Walker asked attendees. “A healthy agribiome is foundational to a crop reaching its fullest genetic potential and improved crop quality leads to higher nutritional and energy values in feed and forages. Efficient production is not only more environmentally sustainable, but also more profitable.”