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Challenges for Crop Production Research in Improving Land Use, Productivity and Sustainability
Center for Crop Systems Analysis, Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 430, Wageningen 6700 AK, The Netherlands
Received: 20 December 2012; in revised form: 22 February 2013 / Accepted: 2 April 2013 / Published: 17 April 2013
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.
Keywords: agricultural research; biomass yield; bioenergy; cropping systems; crop adaptation; food security; nutrient management; water saving
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MDPI and ACS Style
Spiertz, H. Challenges for Crop Production Research in Improving Land Use, Productivity and Sustainability. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1632-1644.
Spiertz H. Challenges for Crop Production Research in Improving Land Use, Productivity and Sustainability. Sustainability. 2013; 5(4):1632-1644.
Spiertz, Huub. 2013. "Challenges for Crop Production Research in Improving Land Use, Productivity and Sustainability." Sustainability 5, no. 4: 1632-1644.