Green Revolution Facts



  • Since ancient times farmers have tried to improve their crops. They brushed pollen from one species on to another to combine desirable qualities.
  • In 1876 Charles Darwin discovered that inbreeding – pollinating with almost identical plants – made plants less vigorous. Cross-breeding between different strains produced healthier plants. Plants and people
  • In the early 1900s American scientists found that they could improve the protein content of corn by inbreeding – but the yield was poor.
  • In 1917 Donald Jones discovered the ‘double-cross, by combining four strains (not the normal two) to create a hybrid corn which gave high yield and high protein.
  • Hybrid corn changed US farming, raising yields from 2000 liters per hectare in 1933 to 7220 in 1980.
  • In the 1960s US farmers began growing wheat crosses such as Gaines, developed by Norman Borlaug from Japanese dwarf wheats.
  • Gaines and Nugaines are short-stemmed wheats that grow fast and give huge yields need masses of artificial fertilizers–but hey and pesticides.
  • In India and Asia new dwarf wheats and rices created a ‘Green Revolution, doubling yields in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • The Green Revolution means farmers now use ten times as much nitrogen fertilizer as they did in 1960.
  • The huge cost of special seeds, fertilizers and pesticides has often meant that only big agribusinesses can keep up, forcing some farmers out of business.
  • Many years ago, many farmers abandoned ts (Oft tonal wheat seeds (below right) and began planting big `superwheat’ seeds (top right.)