Yield gap analysis of cereals in Europe supported by local knowledge

René Schils


The increasing demand for food requires a sustainable intensification of crop production in underperforming areas. Many global and local studies have addressed yield gaps, i.e. the difference between potential or water-limited yields and actual yields. Global studies generally rely on generic models combined with a grid-based approach. Although using a consistent method, it has been shown they are not suitable for local yield gap assessment. Local studies generally exploit knowledge of location-specific conditions and management, but are less comparable across locations due to different methods. To overcome these inconsistencies, the Global Yield Gap Atlas (GYGA, www.yieldgap.org) proposes a consistent bottom-up approach to estimate yield gaps. This paper outlines the implementation of GYGA for estimating yield gaps of cereals across Europe. For each country, climate zones are identified which represent the major growing areas. Within these climate zones, weather stations are selected with >=15 years of daily data. For dominant soil types within a buffer zone around the weather stations, the potential and water-limited yields are simulated with a crop model, using local knowledge on management. Actual yields are derived from sub-national statistics. Yield gaps are scaled up from buffer zones to climate zones and countries. We will present the first results for selected regions in Europe, and discuss methodological issues on location specific weather and upscaling from weather station buffer zones to climate zones and countries. Furthermore we will look ahead at the implementation of the yield gap cross cutting activity (XC9) in MACSUR-2.

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Kurt-Christian Kersebaum2, Anna Nieróbca3, Katarzyna Żyłowska3, Hendrik Boogaard4, Hugo de Groot4, Lenny van Bussel1, Joost Wolf1, Martin van Ittersum1

Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University, The Netherlands; 2 The Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, Müncheberg, Germany; 3 Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Pulawy, Poland; 4 Alterra, Wageningen UR, The Netherlands

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