Grain legume decline and potential recovery in European agriculture: a review

Peter Zander, TS Amjath-Babu*, S Preissel, M Reckling, Andrea Bues, N Schlafke, T Kuhlman, J Bachinger, Andrea Uthes, Frederick Stoddard, Donal Murphy-Bokern, CA Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sustainable development of agriculture is at the core of agricultural policy debates in Europe. There is a consensus that diversification of cropping would support sustainable development. However, a reduction in legume cultivation has been observed in the EU during the last decades. This decline has induced, in turn, a deficit of proteins and a reduction of ecosystem services provided by legumes. Therefore, we analysed the mechanisms that shape agricultural systems to identify leverage points for reviving European legume production. Specifically, we reviewed the factors that affect the market and non-market value of legumes and the relevant agricultural policies. We characterized the decline in legume cropping as an outcome of the dominance of economic forces that favour specialization of production systems over diversification. We found that the value of market outputs of legumes per unit area is relatively low and volatile, with a 25–78 % variation in pea gross margins, which reduces market competitiveness. We observed that the value of system-internal outputs of legumes such as the nitrogen fixed, of 130 to 153 kg N ha−1; crop protection services that reduce agrochemical costs, by 20–25 % in cereals; and yield enhancements of subsequent crops, of 0.2 to 1.6 t ha−1 in cereals, are often underestimated. In addition, markets fail to translate external effects of legumes such as biodiversity enhancement, reduction in emissions, of up to 50 % in N2O, and soil improvements into economic benefits. Current policies support legumes through selected mechanisms such as ecological focus areas, agri-environmental programmes and sparse coupled support measures. Domestic cultivation of legumes could be supported through trade policies such as import restrictions on genetically modified soybean or new mechanisms to appreciate non-market outputs including payments for ecosystem services and carbon markets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Number of pages20
JournalAgronomy for Sustainable Development
Volume36
Early online date19 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Jun 2016

Fingerprint

Agriculture
legumes
agriculture
Recovery
Ecosystems
Crops
Sustainable development
Economics
Biodiversity
Nitrogen
agricultural policy
Proteins
Soils
markets
Carbon
sustainable development
ecosystem services
Costs
environmental programs
trade policy

Keywords

  • Land use change
  • Protein crops
  • Diversification
  • Economic pressures
  • Sustainable land use

Cite this

Zander, Peter ; Amjath-Babu, TS ; Preissel, S ; Reckling, M ; Bues, Andrea ; Schlafke, N ; Kuhlman, T ; Bachinger, J ; Uthes, Andrea ; Stoddard, Frederick ; Murphy-Bokern, Donal ; Watson, CA. / Grain legume decline and potential recovery in European agriculture: a review. In: Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 2016 ; Vol. 36.
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abstract = "Sustainable development of agriculture is at the core of agricultural policy debates in Europe. There is a consensus that diversification of cropping would support sustainable development. However, a reduction in legume cultivation has been observed in the EU during the last decades. This decline has induced, in turn, a deficit of proteins and a reduction of ecosystem services provided by legumes. Therefore, we analysed the mechanisms that shape agricultural systems to identify leverage points for reviving European legume production. Specifically, we reviewed the factors that affect the market and non-market value of legumes and the relevant agricultural policies. We characterized the decline in legume cropping as an outcome of the dominance of economic forces that favour specialization of production systems over diversification. We found that the value of market outputs of legumes per unit area is relatively low and volatile, with a 25–78 {\%} variation in pea gross margins, which reduces market competitiveness. We observed that the value of system-internal outputs of legumes such as the nitrogen fixed, of 130 to 153 kg N ha−1; crop protection services that reduce agrochemical costs, by 20–25 {\%} in cereals; and yield enhancements of subsequent crops, of 0.2 to 1.6 t ha−1 in cereals, are often underestimated. In addition, markets fail to translate external effects of legumes such as biodiversity enhancement, reduction in emissions, of up to 50 {\%} in N2O, and soil improvements into economic benefits. Current policies support legumes through selected mechanisms such as ecological focus areas, agri-environmental programmes and sparse coupled support measures. Domestic cultivation of legumes could be supported through trade policies such as import restrictions on genetically modified soybean or new mechanisms to appreciate non-market outputs including payments for ecosystem services and carbon markets.",
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Zander, P, Amjath-Babu, TS, Preissel, S, Reckling, M, Bues, A, Schlafke, N, Kuhlman, T, Bachinger, J, Uthes, A, Stoddard, F, Murphy-Bokern, D & Watson, CA 2016, 'Grain legume decline and potential recovery in European agriculture: a review', Agronomy for Sustainable Development, vol. 36, 26. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-016-0365-y

Grain legume decline and potential recovery in European agriculture: a review. / Zander, Peter; Amjath-Babu, TS; Preissel, S; Reckling, M; Bues, Andrea; Schlafke, N; Kuhlman, T; Bachinger, J; Uthes, Andrea; Stoddard, Frederick; Murphy-Bokern, Donal; Watson, CA.

In: Agronomy for Sustainable Development, Vol. 36, 26, 06.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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T1 - Grain legume decline and potential recovery in European agriculture: a review

AU - Zander, Peter

AU - Amjath-Babu, TS

AU - Preissel, S

AU - Reckling, M

AU - Bues, Andrea

AU - Schlafke, N

AU - Kuhlman, T

AU - Bachinger, J

AU - Uthes, Andrea

AU - Stoddard, Frederick

AU - Murphy-Bokern, Donal

AU - Watson, CA

PY - 2016/6

Y1 - 2016/6

N2 - Sustainable development of agriculture is at the core of agricultural policy debates in Europe. There is a consensus that diversification of cropping would support sustainable development. However, a reduction in legume cultivation has been observed in the EU during the last decades. This decline has induced, in turn, a deficit of proteins and a reduction of ecosystem services provided by legumes. Therefore, we analysed the mechanisms that shape agricultural systems to identify leverage points for reviving European legume production. Specifically, we reviewed the factors that affect the market and non-market value of legumes and the relevant agricultural policies. We characterized the decline in legume cropping as an outcome of the dominance of economic forces that favour specialization of production systems over diversification. We found that the value of market outputs of legumes per unit area is relatively low and volatile, with a 25–78 % variation in pea gross margins, which reduces market competitiveness. We observed that the value of system-internal outputs of legumes such as the nitrogen fixed, of 130 to 153 kg N ha−1; crop protection services that reduce agrochemical costs, by 20–25 % in cereals; and yield enhancements of subsequent crops, of 0.2 to 1.6 t ha−1 in cereals, are often underestimated. In addition, markets fail to translate external effects of legumes such as biodiversity enhancement, reduction in emissions, of up to 50 % in N2O, and soil improvements into economic benefits. Current policies support legumes through selected mechanisms such as ecological focus areas, agri-environmental programmes and sparse coupled support measures. Domestic cultivation of legumes could be supported through trade policies such as import restrictions on genetically modified soybean or new mechanisms to appreciate non-market outputs including payments for ecosystem services and carbon markets.

AB - Sustainable development of agriculture is at the core of agricultural policy debates in Europe. There is a consensus that diversification of cropping would support sustainable development. However, a reduction in legume cultivation has been observed in the EU during the last decades. This decline has induced, in turn, a deficit of proteins and a reduction of ecosystem services provided by legumes. Therefore, we analysed the mechanisms that shape agricultural systems to identify leverage points for reviving European legume production. Specifically, we reviewed the factors that affect the market and non-market value of legumes and the relevant agricultural policies. We characterized the decline in legume cropping as an outcome of the dominance of economic forces that favour specialization of production systems over diversification. We found that the value of market outputs of legumes per unit area is relatively low and volatile, with a 25–78 % variation in pea gross margins, which reduces market competitiveness. We observed that the value of system-internal outputs of legumes such as the nitrogen fixed, of 130 to 153 kg N ha−1; crop protection services that reduce agrochemical costs, by 20–25 % in cereals; and yield enhancements of subsequent crops, of 0.2 to 1.6 t ha−1 in cereals, are often underestimated. In addition, markets fail to translate external effects of legumes such as biodiversity enhancement, reduction in emissions, of up to 50 % in N2O, and soil improvements into economic benefits. Current policies support legumes through selected mechanisms such as ecological focus areas, agri-environmental programmes and sparse coupled support measures. Domestic cultivation of legumes could be supported through trade policies such as import restrictions on genetically modified soybean or new mechanisms to appreciate non-market outputs including payments for ecosystem services and carbon markets.

KW - Land use change

KW - Protein crops

KW - Diversification

KW - Economic pressures

KW - Sustainable land use

U2 - 10.1007/s13593-016-0365-y

DO - 10.1007/s13593-016-0365-y

M3 - Review article

VL - 36

JO - Agronomy for Sustainable Development

JF - Agronomy for Sustainable Development

SN - 1774-0746

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ER -