Blog entries filtered by: Yield Analysis, Farming
Stem rust is a potentially devastating fungal disease that can kill wheat plants and small grain cereals, but more typically reduces foliage, root growth, and grain yields. The pathogen multiplies rapidly, and its spores can be dispersed by wind over thousands of kilometers.
Crop systems models can help researchers estimate the future of food security under climate scenarios. Many crop models are known to exist around the world - for different crops with varying complexities, yet it is not easy to find the right model for the right problem. To better understand the global extent of crop model development and to identify gaps in capabilities, HarvestChoice participated in an initiative to conduct a rapid meta-analysis of crop models using on-line survey to the crop modeling community in the world. Here are the key findings.
Long-term yield trials are great resources for agricultural researches in multiple disciplines, but such dataset have not been readily available in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Hatfield Experimental Farm in Pretoria, South Africa, is an exceptional case that has been providing maize yield and fertilizer trial dataset with 32 treatments since 1939. In collaboration with University of Pretoria, HarvestChoice facilitated the re-discovery of raw yield dataset from the trial to study the measured long-term yield variability.
Conceptually, in its simplest form, one may liken the cultivation of a crop in the field to a mathematical function.
As a quick demonstration to estimate crop yield levels at regional-scale with various management assumptions, this post describes how crop systems models can be used to assess yield gap of rainfed maize due to the limited supply of soil nitrogen. This methodology can help researchers to find what is the most critical factor that limits crop yield productivity in a given environment condition and how to address the constraint.
By modeling the decomposition of soil organic matter dynamics, crop systems models can simulate the effects of soil nutrient depletion under low-input extractive field management practices, as well as soil carbon sequestration under regenerative management practices.
Not only crop growth and yield, crop models can be also used to estimate potential damages from pest/disease through a predefined set of damage pathways, or coupling points.
Farming entails a great deal of choices and uncertainties. From season to season, weather varies, price fluctuates, soil degrades, pest damages, and climate changes. Farmers everywhere must cope with these uncertainties. Throughout the history of agriculture, many options have been developed to help manage these risks, increase yields, increase efficiency, and, more recently, promote the sustainability of the overall system.
Water availability is the most critical factor for sustaining crop productivity in rainfed agriculture. Even if a drought-tolerant trait is introduced, water isn't available to crops when there is no water in the soil. Rainfall variability from season to season greatly affects soil water availability to crops, and thus pose crop production risks.