World land area for grain production increased between 5 and 10 percent from 1961-2012
There are conflicting statistics on the percent increase in land area devoted to growing grains. The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service PSD database reports a 10% increase in land area harvested for grains, while the FAO reports a 5% increase. The main difference is the FAOSTAT percentage includes both cereals and coarse grains... when coarse grains are taken out of the calculations, and the date range is shortened to be from 1961-2012, both databases report between 8.1% and 8.5%... The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service PSD database reports that world area for harvested grains increased 9.8% from 1960-2013. If you change the dates to those available in the FAOSTAT database, looking at the change from 1961 to 2012, the total world area for harvesting grains increased 8.1%. The data for this is a compilation of official reported data, and other available information... didn't specify what. The FAOSTAT database reports that the total harvested area for cereals + coarse grains increased 5% from 1961-2012. Refining the FAOSTAT database a bit more, total for cereals increased 8.5% from 1961 to 2012, which is much closer to the 8.1% from the USDA. The difference comes when total coarse grains area added, and harvested area for these coarse grains actually decreased by 1.2% over that same time period. The data for FAOSTAT comes from official reported statistics for each country. Both calculations are saved in an excel sheet on the Small Planet s drive in the Ind Ag Chapter called "World Grain Land Area 1961-2012."
Calculated from USDA: PSD, (Grains, Area Harvested, World Total, 1961-2014; accessed April 11, 2014), http://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/psdQuery.aspx Calculated from FAOSTAT, (Production: Crops, World Total, Area Harvested, Cereals Total and Coarse Grains Total, 1961-2012; accessed April 11, 2014), http://faostat3.fao.org/faostat-gateway/go/to/download/Q/QC/E.