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Fluid Journal : Summer 2016
11 The Fluid Journal Summer 2016 The Fluid Journal • Official Journal of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation • Summer 2016 • Vol. 23, No. 3, Issue #93 Drs. Jerry L. Harfield and Charles L. Walthall Summary: Global food needs are projected to double by 2050 to feed a projected 9 billion people and the challenge presented to agriculture is whether this is feasible. These goals will be faced with an increasing variability in climate and more extremes in temperature and precipitation in all parts of the world, not to mention a decreasing land resource base in extent and quality. While there are many challenges to be met, focusing on the interactions of genetics x environment x management (G x E x M) offers the potential to feed the 9 billion. However, we must understand that a critical part of the management complex will be how we address nutrient management to ensure product quantity and quality and pest management to reduce the pressures on plants. We can meet this challenge; however, the paradigm of how we currently conduct research will not be rapid enough and we need to develop the transdisciplinary teams to represent each component of the G x E x M interaction. Feeding the projected 9 billion global inhabitants of 2050 is a topic of concern to agriculture because it is questionable if agricultural production can expand to meet this challenge. Projections of the required increase of global food production range from 60 to 110 percent above current levels. For the required increase to occur, assuming no change in population growth rate or food consumption and food waste management, the following production increases must take place by 2050 and beyond: cereals must increase by 940 million Mg to reach 3 billion Mg; meat production must increase by 196 million Mg to reach 455 million Mg; and oil crops must increase by 133 million Mg to reach 282 million Mg. Ray et al. (2013) argue that the current yearly increases of crop production for maize (Zea mays L.) at 1.6 %, rice (Oryea sativa L.) a 1.0 %, wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) at 0.9%, and soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] at 1.3% are insufficient to meet the projected demands of 2050, and thus, production of these crops must increase by 67% (maize), 42% (rice), 38% (wheat), and 55% (soybeans). A major component in this production increase is the nutritional quality of this produce to ensure food security in quantity and quality. The nutritional demands of 9 Meeting Global Needs Via Genetics x Environment x Management ▼ DOWNLOAD billion people must be the first aspect of how we view future production. Another estimate of the needed increase for global maize during the time frame of 2000 to 2050 is more than 450 million Mg or nearly 30% (Hubert et al. 2010). A recent assessment of agricultural production by Sakschewski et al. (2014) argues that production increases can come from increasing land productivity or by increasing available land resources, and increasing available land resources is not an option. They suggest that productivity increase will be insufficient to meet global food demands and that technological advances will be Meeting future food needs will carry some specific challenges.