More frequent harvest could substantially boost global food production on existing agricultural lands
Harvesting existing cropland more frequently could substantially increase global food production without clearing more land for agriculture, according to a new study from the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota.
The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, tracked global harvest trends of 177 crops between 1961 and 2011. It found that the total amount of land harvested increased four times faster than the total amount of cropland between 2000 and 2011, suggesting that harvest frequency was on the rise. This led the authors to wonder if there might be additional gains to be had by strategically increasing cropping frequency.
“Could existing arable lands get more frequent harvests, and what is the upper limit?” asked Deepak Ray, lead author of the study. To answer that question, he introduced a new concept: harvest gap.
Harvest gap is the difference between actual per-year harvest frequency and the maximum potential frequency. Ray and the study’s co-author, IonE director Jonathan Foley, estimated that on average an extra harvest is being missed globally every two years due to the presence of this harvest gap.
The researchers found that Africa, Latin America and Asia have the highest concentration of potential harvest gaps. Brazil, for example, which on average harvests its croplands nearly once per year, has a harvest gap of 0.9, suggesting that on its current arable lands a second harvest is possible each year. Closing the gap would boost crop production on existing croplands without resorting to further clearing for agriculture, and so could potentially reduce the pressure to destroy additional rain forest. Increased harvest frequency also holds potential for mitigating risk under a changing climate. Worldwide, the researchers found that closing harvest gaps worldwide could theoretically boost production more than 44 percent.
Ray notes the study amounts to “scientific eyeballing,” since only national data were available and only for 177 crops. To fully quantify the potential impact, more local data would be needed, and local farmers would have to weigh the benefits against the costs of additional harvests, which may turn out to be prohibitive.
In addition, the researchers note that efforts to increase crop harvest frequency must also be wary of leading to deterioration of soil, water and the agricultural land base. “Depending on local environmental conditions, agronomic practices and social contexts, increasing cropland harvest frequency could present a short-term gain in crop production, with long-term losses in agricultural yields and environmental conditions. Only if increasing frequency of harvests can be done sustainably is this strategy a potential way to address some of the challenges of crop production and food security,” they write.
Localized studies suggest that farmers around the world already are benefiting from increasing the number of harvests. “Introduction of second crops, generally corn following the primary soybean crop, has increased local incomes across economic sectors,” the report noted. Countries in which cropping frequency already is increasing include Brazil, India and China; however, others, including many African nations, have shown a decline in recent years.
More frequent cropping, the authors said, represents a potentially powerful “third way” of increasing food production, in addition to expanding cropland and increasing harvest yields, both of which are widely studied by IonE researchers.
The Latest Google Headlines on:
Global food production
The Latest Bing News on:
Global food production
- Tiare Boyes: It’s time to include our ocean in the global food security conversationon October 25, 2020 at 6:06 pm
The ocean is the world’s largest source of protein and can be accessed as a perpetual renewable resource if managed correctly. As a marine conservationist, fish harvester and underwater photographer I ...
- COVID-19 and the role of local food production in building more resilient local food systemson October 24, 2020 at 8:20 am
English Evaluation and Lessons Learned on World and 10 other countries about Agriculture, Food and Nutrition and Epidemic; published on 24 Oct 2020 by FAO ...
- The U.N.'s World Food Program, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, keeps focus on reaching zero global hungeron October 23, 2020 at 6:50 pm
The United Nations' World Food Program, recently named a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is aiming for zero food hunger by 2030.
- Global Food Automation Industryon October 23, 2020 at 5:46 am
Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report "Global Food Automation Industry" - 2 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.5% over the analysis period 2020-2027. Motors & Generators, one of ...
- Global Food and Beverage Lab Analytical Instruments Market 2020-2024 by Technique, Region, Function, and Applicationon October 22, 2020 at 12:32 pm
The "The Market for Analytical Instruments in the Food and Beverage Labs Sector" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. The new Market Opportunity Report: Food & Beverage Labs ...
- Baby Finger Food Market Forecast to 2027 - COVID-19 Impact and Global Analysis by Product Type and Distribution Channel, and Geographyon October 21, 2020 at 6:31 am
The global baby finger food market was valued at US$ 18,589. 43 million in 2019 and is projected to reach US$ 32,825. 92 million by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7. 4% from 2020 to ...
- Food Security Bursts Onto the Global Agendaon October 21, 2020 at 1:45 am
The month of October 2020 will be recalled as one of the most important moments in raising awareness about world food security, whether in the global debate or in the search for possible concrete ...
- Global Plant Protein-based Food Market 2020 Definitions, Classifications, Applications, Industry Analysis and Forecast by 2025on October 20, 2020 at 1:09 am
Global Plant Protein-based Food Market 2020 by Manufacturers, Type and Application, Forecast to 2025 contains a detailed description of all the major market components that helps to better assess the ...
- Global food production threatens the climateon October 19, 2020 at 7:14 am
Concentration of N2O in the atmosphere increases strongly and speeds up climate change. In addition to CO2 and methane, it is the third important greenhouse gas emitted due to anthropogenic activities ...
- Global $147 Bn Kids` Food and Beverages Market Trajectory & Analytics to 2027 - ResearchAndMarkets.comon October 19, 2020 at 6:24 am
Global Market Trajectory & Analytics” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Kids` Food and Beverages estimated at US$104.2 Billion ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
The Latest Bing News on:
- Irrigation systems for undercover croppingon October 22, 2020 at 10:19 am
Maximising water-use efficiency in South African undercover crop farming operationshas become both a financial and moral imperative. But selecting the most appropriate undercover irrigation ...
- The best gaming headsets 2020on October 20, 2020 at 4:46 am
These are the best gaming headsets that will give you the premium audio experiences - whatever your platform or budget, there's one here for you ...
- In Uganda, safeguarding chimpanzees against the scourge of snaringon October 19, 2020 at 5:00 pm
As they hack their way with pangas through the dense and prickly undergrowth, a palpable sense of tension grips the camo-clad patrol party navigating the rainforest of Kibale National Park. An hour ...
- Mike Smith To CHRB: New Riding Crop Rule Putting Jockeys, Horses At Greater Riskon October 14, 2020 at 7:20 pm
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, co-chair of the Jockeys' Guild, has written a letter to California Horse Racing Board members on behalf of the Guild and California riders criticizing a restrictive ...
- Climate Change’s Dangerous Next Phaseon October 12, 2020 at 9:40 pm
By 2050, many such areas around the world will face flood levels every year that only recently occurred once per century. When extreme events strike the same location more frequently, the confluence ...
- Twitter to change its image cropping featureon October 4, 2020 at 1:49 pm
The image cropping system relies on saliency ... 200 times for each pair of demographic categories and evaluated the frequency of preferring one over the other. It is also planning to open ...
- Twitter Wants to Replace Its Seemingly Racist Cropping Tool With Users Like Youon October 2, 2020 at 9:16 am
Here’s that explanation in full: The image cropping system relies on saliency ... pair of demographic categories and evaluated the frequency of preferring one over the other.
- Twitter may let users choose how to crop image previews after bias scrutinyon October 2, 2020 at 3:41 am
As we reported last month, the microblogging platform found its image-cropping algorithm garnering ... of demographic categories and evaluated the frequency of preferring one over the other.” ...
- Twitter vows to fix bias image cropping to reduce harmon October 1, 2020 at 11:08 pm
The image cropping system relies on saliency ... 200 times for each pair of demographic categories and evaluated the frequency of preferring one over the other," Agrawal said.