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Challenges for Crop Production Research in Improving Land Use, Productivity and Sustainability

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  • Huub Spiertz

    () (Center for Crop Systems Analysis, Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 430, Wageningen 6700 AK, The Netherlands)

Abstract

The demand for food, feed, and feedstocks for bioenergy and biofactory plants will increase proportionally due to population growth, prosperity, and bioeconomic growth. Securing food supply and meeting demand for biomass will involve many biological and agro-ecological aspects such as genetic plant improvement, sustainable land use, water-saving irrigation, and integrated nutrient management as well as control of pests, diseases and weeds. It will be necessary to raise biomass production and economic yield per unit of land—not only under optimum growing conditions, but even more under conditions constrained by climate, water availability, and soil quality. Most of the advanced agronomic research by national and international research institutes is dedicated to the major food crops: maize, rice, wheat, and potato. However, research on crops grown as feedstock, for bio-energy and industrial use under conditions with biophysical constraints, is lagging behind. Global and regional assessments of the potential for growing crops are mostly based on model and explorative studies under optimum conditions, or with either water or nitrogen deficiencies. More investments in combined experimental and modeling research are needed to develop and evaluate new crops and cropping systems under a wide range of agro-ecological conditions. An integral assessment of the biophysical production capacity and the impact on resource use, biodiversity and socio-economic factors should be carried out before launching large-scale crop production systems in marginal environments.

Suggested Citation

  • Huub Spiertz, 2013. "Challenges for Crop Production Research in Improving Land Use, Productivity and Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(4), pages 1-13, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:4:p:1632-1644:d:25066
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wolf, J. & Bindraban, P. S. & Luijten, J. C. & Vleeshouwers, L. M., 2003. "Exploratory study on the land area required for global food supply and the potential global production of bioenergy," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 841-861, June.
    2. Acosta-Michlik, Lilibeth & Lucht, Wolfgang & Bondeau, Alberte & Beringer, Tim, 2011. "Integrated assessment of sustainability trade-offs and pathways for global bioenergy production: Framing a novel hybrid approach," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 2791-2809, August.
    3. Qu, Futian & Kuyvenhoven, Arie & Shi, Xiaoping & Heerink, Nico, 2011. "Sustainable natural resource use in rural China: Recent trends and policies," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 444-460.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Riccardo Testa & Anna Maria di Trapani & Filippo Sgroi & Salvatore Tudisca, 2014. "Economic Sustainability of Italian Greenhouse Cherry Tomato," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(11), pages 1-15, November.
    2. Yonglin Shen & Xiuguo Liu, 2015. "Phenological Changes of Corn and Soybeans over U.S. by Bayesian Change-Point Model," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(6), pages 1-23, May.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1666-:d:112474 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bocca, Felipe Ferreira & Rodrigues, Luiz Henrique Antunes & Arraes, Nilson Antonio Modesto, 2015. "When do I want to know and why? Different demands on sugarcane yield predictions," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 48-56.
    5. repec:spr:jecstr:v:6:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40008-017-0075-x is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agricultural research; biomass yield; bioenergy; cropping systems; crop adaptation; food security; nutrient management; water saving;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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