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Capability, Suitability and Climate Programme (CSCP)

Led by Welsh Government (in partnership with Environment Systems Ltd, ADAS and Cranfield University) the Capability, Suitability and Climate Programme (CSCP) 2018-2020 had a number of objectives, one of which was, create national crop suitability models and maps for a selection of approximately 120 food, fibre, forestry, ornamental, energy and pharmaceutical crops.

Click on the button on the left to see the crop maps for the Biosphere area. For each crop, the maps show predicted potentially suitable locations for growing each crop on a 50m grid under 3 different climate change scenarios (low, medium and high emission). 

CSCP is about the nation's soil – another major output from the programme was an updated version of the Predictive Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) Map. This key national dataset grades agricultural land from 1 (best quality) to 5, has a statutory function and is used in planning, policy and development control. This land quality information was combined with UK Met Office climate predictions to produce the crop suitability maps.  Detail on CSCP, the methodology and results can be found here.

From the perspective of Tyfu Dyfi, some of the most notable CSCP outputs are:

  • Wales is capable of growing a wider range, both in terms of species and distribution, of crops than is currently grown.

  • A general increase in temperature is predicted, with less rainfall in summer and more in winter, there will be an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events and overall weather variability.

  • Drought in summer will become more of a risk. For field vegetable production the decrease in summer rainfall is likely to pose a challenge, especially in crops that need consistent soil moisture.

  • The overall reduction in soil wetness results in an overall increase in the area of Best and Most Versatile land (ALC grades 1, 2 and 3a combined), providing opportunities for more arable cropping.

  • The increase in temperatures and rainfall (particularly the variability of weather within a season) has the potential to have a significant impact on horticultural crops.

  • There will be greater need for disease surveying in order to detect changes in pathogen life cycles to allow adaptation and development of appropriate crop protection measures.

  • The main impact of climate change on top fruit production is the reduction in winter chilling which is important for vernalisation in some crops.


Given the focus of Tyfu Dyfi, it may be worth noting:

  • If grassland is turned over to arable and field vegetable farming as the climate changes, steps should be taken to conserve the soil, ie, reduce Soil Organic Matter loss, compaction and erosion.  We would advocate agroecological practices, eg, minimum till, use of organic matter as a source of fertility, rotations, intercropping, companion planting, etc, in mixed farming systems.

  • Much of the Biosphere area and Wales in general is uplands. As water becomes more scarce in the summer and as storms become more frequent, there will be increased pressure to expand upland vegetation cover to reduce erosion, reduce catchment ‘flashiness’ and regulate water supply. Similarly, the need to draw down carbon and address biodiversity loss will continue to inform discussion around land use change and ecological restoration.

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