Project

Global benchmarking of local crop N, P and water use efficiencies

<p>To increase production while at the same time using natural resources efficiently and sustainably, benchmarking of current production systems is essential. Benchmarking of productivity and resource use efficiency, e.g. through yield gap analysis, is a known approach in plant production systems (Van Ittersum and Rabbinge, 1997; Lobell et al., 2009) though it is not performed consistently across the globe. Benchmarking methods for livestock systems are hardly developed, and the approach is even more complicated in mixed farming systems, where both crops and livestock serve double purposes. In these systems, optimization is based on the system as a whole and not on one single product or commodity. The methodology for benchmarking productivity and resource use efficiency in these complex systems is still lacking, whereas there is clear evidence that production efficiency largely differs between systems and can have major influence on global production potentials and resource use (Wirsenius, 2003; Wirsenius et al., 2010).</p>

Benchmarking methods for livestock systems are hardly developed, and the approach is even more complicated in mixed farming systems, where both crops and livestock serve double purposes. In these systems, optimization is based on the system as a whole and not on one single product or commodity. The methodology for benchmarking productivity and resource use efficiency in these complex systems is still lacking, whereas there is clear evidence that production efficiency largely differs between systems and can have major influence on global production potentials and resource use (Wirsenius, 2003; Wirsenius et al., 2010).

The demand for both food and energy will increase with at least 70% in the coming 40 years due to
the forecasted growth in global population and average income (FAO, 2009). Although there is consensus in the literature that high crop productivity is a prerequisite to meet global future needs, there is also growing awareness that resources are limited (fossil energy, phosphorus, fresh water) and that they should be used more efficiently.

Publications