Alexandra N. Kravchenko, Sieglinde S. Snapp, G. Philip Robertson. Field-scale experiments reveal persistent yield gaps in low-input and organic cropping systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017; 201612311 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1612311114
Addressing the gap between research and practice in sustainable agriculture
- January 18, 2017
- Michigan State University
- New research has found a big difference in the yields produced by alternative agricultural practices in commercial fields compared with the same practices in the small experimental plots ordinarily used to test them.
These differences have important implications for closing the global yield gap between research plots and farmer fields, especially for low-input practices adopted by organic farmers in the United States and by resource-strapped farmers in less developed regions.
The study, published in the latest issue of PNAS, compared the yields of a crop rotation of wheat, corn and soybeans under three different management practices: conventional, low-input and organic. The tests were conducted at small experimental plots and the much larger commercial field level. Though researchers found no appreciable difference in the yields produced at either level for conventional crop management, they noted a significant yield gap for both low-input and organic management.
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