Non-food crops are increasingly being used as raw materials for biofuel production, and for fibre, polymers and pharmaceuticals. Their yield potential has to be as efficient as possible in order to minimise the competition for land with the food and feed sectors. The main objective of 4F CROPS was to survey and analyse all the parameters that contribute to successful non-food cropping systems in the agriculture of the EU. The project started with the prediction of the future land use in short term and long term, taking under consideration restrict factors for agriculture and the market demand for non-food crops. The cropping possibilities based on ecology and climate were determined and socio-economic impacts, like farmers' income, rural development, public development, and public acceptance were analysed. The non-food crops were subjected to both a comparative cost analysis with conventional crops and an assessment of their environmental implications (by ifeu). This way, the project partners were able to develop specific cropping systems for different climatic zones, soils and levels of input. Overall, the consortium found that while non-food European crops were not earning the opportunity cost of land, they had a very promising future.
Rettenmaier, N., Köppen, S., Gärtner, S., Reinhardt, G.: Life cycle analyses (LCA). Final report on Tasks 4.2 & 4.3. In: 4F CROPS project reports, supported by the EU’s 7th framework programme under GA no. 212811, ifeu – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany, 2010