Yield gaps of cereals across Europe

René Schils


The increasing global demand for food requires a sustainable intensification of crop production in low-yielding areas. Actions to improve crop production in these regions call for accurate spatially explicit identification of yield gaps, i.e. the difference between potential or water-limited yield and actual yield. The Global Yield Gap Atlas (GYGA) project proposes a consistent bottom-up approach to estimate yield gaps.

For each country, a climate zonation is overlaid with a crop area map. Within climate zones with important crop areas, weather stations are selected with at least 10 years of daily data. For each of the 3 dominant soil types within a 100 km zone around the weather stations, the potential and water-limited yields are simulated with the WOFOST crop model, using location-specific knowledge on crop systems. Data from variety trials or other experiments, approaching potential or water-limited yields, are used for validation and calibration of the model. Actual yields are taken from sub-national statistics. Yields and yield gaps are scaled up to climate zones and subsequently to countries.

The average national simulated wheat yields under rainfed conditions varied from around 5 to 6 t/ha/year in the Mediterranean to nearly 12 t/ha/year on the British Isles and in the Low Countries. The average actual wheat yield varied from around 2 to 3 t/ha/year in the Mediterranean and some countries in East Europe to nearly 9 t/ha/year on the British Isles and in the Low Countries. The average relative yield gaps varied from around 10% to 30% in many countries in Northwest Europe to around 50% to 70% in some countries in the Mediterranean and East Europe. The paper will elaborate on results per climate zone and soil type, and will also include barley and maize. Furthermore we will relate yield gaps to nitrogen use.

Full Text:



List of contributors:

René Schils, Kurt-Christiaan Kersebaum, Katarzyna Mizak, Anna Nieróbca, Bert Rijk, Joao Nunes da Silva, Inés Mínguez, Alba Castaneda Vera, Jørgen Olesen, Behzad Sharif, Andrii Kolotii, Tetiana Adamenko, Oleksii Kryvobok, Oleksandr Kryvoshein, Nataliia Kussul, Benvindo Martins Maçãs, José Norberto Prates Coutinho, Mirek Trnka, Petr Hlavinka, Josiane Lorgeou, Helene Marrou, Viorel Ion, Adrian Bășa, Henrik Eckersten, Taru Paluoso, Pirjo Peltonen-Sainio, John Spink, Joseph Lynch, Roger Silvester-Bradley, Ian Bingham, Daniel Kindred, Kairsty Topp , Nandor Fodor, Jozef Takac, Hristofor Kirchev, Vanya Manolova, Ivan Manolov, Nikos Danalatos, Sotirios Archontoulis, Valery Kalyada, Anne Gobin, Pier Paolo Roggero, Simona Bassu, Michael Oberforster, Lilia Levy, Didier Pellet, Jürg Hiltbrunner, Till Seehusen, Anne Kjersti Uhlen, Hendrik Boogaard, Hugo de Groot, Joost Wolf, Lenny van Bussel, Martin van Ittersum

Previous issues and volumes can be found in the 'Archives' section.

You can refer to a paper published in this series in the following format Author (2013) Title. FACCE MACSUR Reports 2: D-C1.3, where "D-C1.3" is the article ID en lieu of page range.