The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has called for a strategy of “sustained action and investment” to increase the productivity of arable farming.

The plea comes after the organisation warned the wheat harvest could be 30% lower than last year’s.

It also followed a government minister’s statement recently that the UK, and Europe, is lagging behind when it comes to GM crops.

Meurig Raymond, NFU deputy president, was speaking at Cereal’s 2013 arable conference and said the UK must present a showcase for both agricultural technology and innovative, profitable farm businesses or risk missing out on investment.

He added: “More of the same is not good enough. There has been plenty of basic science funded, but it needs turning into practice on the ground. Otherwise how can it help move British farming forward? Filling the gaps in applied research and translational activities, including on-farm demonstrations, is critical.

“Unfortunately, Europe is a long way from being a showcase of innovative and evidence-based regulation. Obstructive politics and poor regulation on issues such as pesticides and GM will prevent farmers from fulfilling their potential to optimise production. Ignoring the science in these areas directly affects our ability to compete globally. Clearly, this is no way to produce an agri-tech showcase in the UK.”