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Temperate Agriculture

Temperate agriculture usually refers to large scale industrial agriculture systems, in temperate areas which are prolific in terms of production outputs.

A significant proportion of global agricultural production originates from temperate countries and this proportion is likely to increase with climate change.

Temperate agriculture is characterised by sophisticated agronomic practices, intense mechanisation and use of inputs like groundwater irrigation, chemical fertilisers, pesticides and (in some instances) Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).  A number of characteristics distinguish temperate from tropical agricultural systems:

  • seasonality, leading to well-defined operations and growing periods and seasonally-dependent pest and disease incidence (although some tropical areas may also share some such seasonal characteristics);
  • less weathered soils, with different fertility characteristics and slower soil organic matter dynamics;
  • substantial inputs of fertilisers, agrochemicals or mechanisation in different combinations;
  • substantial investment by the private sector favouring investment in “high-value” crops such as wheat, soya, oil seed rape (canola), maize (corn) and potato, and in improved grasslands, and
  • globally, the highest yields.