Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Calibrating Field-Specific Soil Parameters Using Satellite Data and Several Years of Crop Yields
    Evert, F.K. van; Riepma, Jits ; Oort, P.A.J. van - \ 2020
    - 1 p.
    Reverse genetics system for shuni virus, an emerging orthobunyavirus with zoonotic potential
    Oymans, Judith ; Wichgers Schreur, Paul J. ; Oort, Sophie Van; Vloet, Rianka ; Venter, Marietjie ; Pijlman, Gorben P. ; Oers, Monique M. Van; Kortekaas, Jeroen - \ 2020
    Viruses 12 (2020)4. - ISSN 1999-4915
    Orthobunyavirus - Reassortment - Reverse genetics - Schmallenberg virus - Shuni virus

    The genus Orthobunyavirus (family Peribunyaviridae, order Bunyavirales) comprises over 170 named mosquito- and midge-borne viruses, several of which cause severe disease in animals or humans. Their three-segmented genomes enable reassortment with related viruses, which may result in novel viruses with altered host or tissue tropism and virulence. One such reassortant, Schmallenberg virus (SBV), emerged in north-western Europe in 2011. Shuni virus (SHUV) is an orthobunyavirus related to SBV that is associated with neurological disease in horses in southern Africa and recently caused an outbreak manifesting with neurological disease and birth defects among ruminants in Israel. The zoonotic potential of SHUV was recently underscored by its association with neurological disease in humans. We here report a reverse genetics system for SHUV and provide first evidence that the non-structural (NSs) protein of SHUV functions as an antagonist of host innate immune responses. We furthermore report the rescue of a reassortant containing the L and S segments of SBV and the M segment of SHUV. This novel reverse genetics system can now be used to study SHUV virulence and tropism, and to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that drive reassortment events.

    Effects of strip width on yields in relay-strip intercropping: A simulation study
    Oort, P.A.J. van; Gou, F. ; Stomph, T.J. ; Werf, W. van der - \ 2020
    European Journal of Agronomy 112 (2020). - ISSN 1161-0301
    Gross Margin Ratio (GMR) - Land Equivalent - Maize - Ratio (LER) - Strip intercropping - Strip width - Wheat

    Intercropping is the cultivation of multiple crop species on the same land. Relay strip intercropping is an intercropping system in which the component species are grown in strips, while the growing periods of the crop species overlap only partially. The effects of strip width on yields in relay-strip intercropping are still poorly understood. Here in a case study on wheat-maize relay intercropping a simple strip intercropping model was applied to quantify intercropping performance as a function of a wide range of strip widths. Simulations showed that (1) the optimum strip width is less than 1 meter and (2) benefits of intercropping rapidly drop as strips become wider. Most previous experimental work was also done at narrow configurations, with strips less than 3 meters wide. Benefits of intercropping may therefore be less than what would be expected from experiments if narrow configurations are not attainable because of lack of mechanisation. All optimised strip configurations showed a Land Equivalent Ratio (LER) larger than 1 indicating benefits of intercropping, irrespective of assumptions that were made on radiation use efficiency in intercropped species as compared to sole crops. At current prices of wheat and maize, however, intercropping gross margin exceeded sole cropping gross margin only if the intercrop RUE was larger than sole crop RUE for both species. This study shows that strip crop growth models can be used to specify needs for future machinery, that will enable farmers to attain benefits from intercropping.

    Calibrating Field-Specific Soil Parameters Using Remote Sensing and Several Years of Crop Yields
    Evert, F.K. van; Riepma, Jits ; Oort, P.A.J. van; Janssen, Arni - \ 2019
    Currently, many precision agriculture recommendations are based on empirical models, for example when a nitrogen application rate is calculated from a drone or satellite image. In the future such recommendations will also use mechanistic models of crop growth. It is a challenge to calibrate these models to the specific conditions of each farm and each farm field, especially so for soil parameters. The aim of our work was to operationalize the estimation of soil parameters via inverse modelling, using remote sensing and yield monitor data. We calibrated the WOFOST model using 5 years of data from 10 commercial fields in The Netherlands on which potato was the main crop and where sugar beet, maize and wheat were grown in non-potato years. Starting values for soil parameters were taken from the national soil map. Model outcome proved especially sensitive to field capacity and depth of the soil. Inverse modelling resulted in improved accuracy of simulated LAI and crop yield. We report the increase in accuracy of the simulations and the change in soil parameters relative to their starting values.
    Multi-Location Response and Calibration Stability of Potato Models to Changes in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration
    Fleisher, David H. ; Berghuijs, H.N.C. ; Evert, F.K. van; Silva, J.V. ; Supit, I. ; Oort, P.A.J. van; Wolf, J. - \ 2019
    The accuracy of models to predict the impact of changing climate factors on crop growth is influenced by data availability and quality, model structure, and model calibration. In this context, we previously evaluated the ability of an ensemble of ten potato crop models to simulate the effect of ambient (aC) and elevated (eC) atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration on yield at 8 experimental locations across Europe. Each modeling group developed a single cross-location calibration parameter set using aC data from just two locations. Simulations were then conducted using this ‘limited’ calibration across all locations for aC and eC responses. Results indicated that the mean of all model responses were within the range of observed variation when averaged across all locations, but this accuracy varied substantially with experimental site. In the next phase of this study, modelers developed site-specific calibration parameters for each individual location, as well as one single cross-location calibration set, using the full set of aC data. This was viewed as a ‘full’ calibration approach since data from all 8 experiments were made available to the modelers. Model simulations were then conducted for eC response at each location using these new within- and cross-location calibration parameter sets. This presentation will focus on a) the differences in the accuracy of model response to eC across all sites using within- versus cross-location calibration, b) the variation in predicted yields among individual locations, and c) comparison of cross-, and within-, location responses to eC and aC between the ‘full’ and ‘limited’ calibration approaches. Multi-model accuracy to aC and eC responses, and the geospatial stability of the different model calibration parameter sets, will be quantified. Insights regarding the influence that data availability and calibration methodology have on these results will also be assessed.
    Development and testing of site-specific fertiliser formulations for rice in sub-Saharan Africa
    Leenaars, J.G.B. ; Egmond, F.M. van; Bosch, H. van den; Ruiperez Gonzalez, M. ; Kempen, B. ; Cisse, L. ; Bocar, A. ; Ros, G.H. ; Vries, W. de; Kros, J. ; Heinen, M. ; Walvoort, D.J.J. ; Oort, P.A.J. van; Saito, Kazuki - \ 2019
    - p. 36 - 36.
    Light acclimation of the colonial green alga botryococcus braunii strain showa
    Berg, Tomas E. van den; Chukhutsina, Volha U. ; Amerongen, Herbert van; Croce, Roberta ; Oort, Bart van - \ 2019
    Plant Physiology 179 (2019)3. - ISSN 0032-0889 - p. 1132 - 1143.

    In contrast to single cellular species, detailed information is lacking on the processes of photosynthetic acclimation for colonial algae, although these algae are important for biofuel production, ecosystem biodiversity, and wastewater treatment. To investigate differences between single cellular and colonial species, we studied the regulation of photosynthesis and photoprotection during photoacclimation for the colonial green alga Botryococcus braunii and made a comparison with the properties of the single cellular species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We show that B. braunii shares some high-light (HL) photoacclimation strategies with C. reinhardtii and other frequently studied green algae: decreased chlorophyll content, increased free carotenoid content, and increased nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ). Additionally, B. braunii has unique HL photoacclimation strategies, related to its colonial form: strong internal shading by an increase of the colony size and the accumulation of extracellular echinenone (a ketocarotenoid). HL colonies are larger and more spatially heterogenous than low-light colonies. Compared with surface cells, cells deeper inside the colony have increased pigmentation and larger photosystem II antenna size. The core of the largest of the HL colonies does not contain living cells. In contrast with C. reinhardtii, but similar to other biofilm-forming algae, NPQ capacity is substantial in low light. In HL, NPQ amplitude increases, but kinetics are unchanged. We discuss possible causes of the different acclimation responses of C. reinhardtii and B. braunii. Knowledge of the specific photoacclimation processes for this colonial green alga further extends the view of the diversity of photoacclimation strategies in photosynthetic organisms.

    Soil Processes, Pedofeatures and Microscale Metal Distributions: Relevant Study of Contaminant-Dynamics Calls for Pedology-Based Soil-Depth Sampling Strategies
    Oort, Folkert Van; Foy, Eddy ; Labanowski, Jérôme ; Leguédois, Sophie ; Jongmans, Toine - \ 2018
    Soil Systems 2 (2018)1. - ISSN 2571-8789
    Short-term variations of soil conditions affect the form, mobility and bioavailability of metal pollutants. Released metals migrate toward depth where they are intercepted or precipitate, leading to variable spatial metal distribution patterns, at a macro-, meso- and microscale. Studies at a mesoscale give access to trace metal (TM) associations induced by pedological processes. Although scarcely documented, such meso-scale studies represent an essential step for relevant environmental risk assessment, halfway between field- and molecular-scale investigations. We argued for such approach by performing optical microscopy and micro-X-ray fluorescence on thin sections from two soils, contaminated either by industrial zinc-smelter waste or by urban wastewater. Consistent correlation between key indicators of pedological processes (Fe, Mn, and Ca) and trace metals (Zn, Pb, and Cu) on some 20 elemental maps of TM-hosting soil constituents and pedofeatures reveal distinct coinciding localizations, illustrating TM-accumulation via interception or (co)-precipitation processes. Micromorphological interpretation of characteristic pedofeatures in subsurface horizons (crystals, argillans, ferrans, and mangans) containing significant amounts of TM provide valuable insight into the contaminant dynamics in terms of lixiviation, colloidal transport, redox conditions, or fungal activity. Our mesoscale approach stresses the importance of pedology-based sampling strategies, instead of systematic soil-depth sampling, for soil contamination research in natural ecosystems. View Full-Text
    Calibration of simulation models by integrating remote sensing estimates of leaf area index
    Oort, P.A.J. van; Evert, F.K. van; Kempenaar, C. - \ 2018
    - 1 p.
    Calibration of simulation models by integrating remote sensing estimates of leaf area index
    Oort, Pepijn van - \ 2018
    Improving the Simulation of Crop Growth in Commercial Growers' Fields Using Soil Scans, Remote Sensing Imagery and Yield Monitor Data
    Evert, F.K. van; Baron, Frenk-Jan ; Booij, J.A. ; Meurs, E.J.J. ; Oort, P.A.J. van; Kempenaar, C. - \ 2018
    Precision agriculture can in many cases increase the profitability and sustainability of farming. Current precision ag recommendations are often based on empirical models, such as linear or curvilinear relationships between measurement and recommended application rate. For further increases in profitability and sustainability, mechanistic models of crop growth are needed. We investigated whether crop and soil parameters in these models can be determined via inverse modelling using readily available “big data” obtained from soil scans, remote sensing and yield monitors. Moreover, we investigated whether soil parameters determined in this way express within-field spatial variation in these measurements. We used data from several commercial potato growers in the period 2014-2018 (approx. 30 site-years). Initial results show that variations between fields can be parameterized. Accounting for within-field spatial variability through the soil parameters of the fields in question is considerably more difficult.
    Mapping abiotic stresses for rice in Africa : Drought, cold, iron toxicity, salinity and sodicity
    Oort, P.A.J. van - \ 2018
    Field Crops Research 219 (2018). - ISSN 0378-4290 - p. 55 - 75.
    Crop maps - GIS - HWSD - ORYZA2000 - Uncertainty
    Maps of abiotic stresses for rice can be useful for (1) prioritizing research and (2) identifying stress hotspots, for directing technologies and varieties to those areas where they are most needed. Large-scale maps of stresses are not available for Africa. This paper considers four abiotic stresses relevant for rice in Africa (drought, cold, iron toxicity and salinity/sodicity). Maps showing hotspots of the stresses, the countries most affected and total potentially affected area are presented. In terms of relative importance, the study identified drought as the most important stress (33% of rice area potentially affected), followed by iron toxicity (12%) and then cold (7%) and salinity/sodicity (2%). Hotspots for iron toxicity, cold and salinity are identified. For drought, local variation along the hydromorphic zone was a stronger determinant than larger-scale climatic variation, therefore mapping of drought based on climatic zones has only limited value. Uncertainties in the mappings are discussed.
    Impacts of climate change on rice production in Africa and causes of simulated yield changes
    Oort, Pepijn A.J. Van; Zwart, Sander J. - \ 2018
    Global Change Biology 24 (2018)3. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 1029 - 1045.
    This study is the first of its kind to quantify possible effects of climate change on rice production in Africa. We simulated impacts on rice in irrigated systems (dry season and wet season) and rainfed systems (upland and lowland). We simulated the use of rice varieties with a higher temperature sum as adaptation option. We simulated rice yields for 4 RCP climate change scenarios and identified causes of yield declines. Without adaptation, shortening of the growing period due to higher temperatures had a negative impact on yields (−24% in RCP 8.5 in 2070 compared with the baseline year 2000). With varieties that have a high temperature sum, the length of the growing period would remain the same as under the baseline conditions. With this adaptation option rainfed rice yields would increase slightly (+8%) but they remain subject to water availability constraints. Irrigated rice yields in East Africa would increase (+25%) due to more favourable temperatures and due to CO2 fertilization. Wet season irrigated rice yields in West Africa were projected to change by −21% or +7% (without/with adaptation). Without adaptation irrigated rice yields in West Africa in the dry season would decrease by −45% with adaptation they would decrease significantly less (−15%). The main cause of this decline was reduced photosynthesis at extremely high temperatures. Simulated heat sterility hardly increased and was not found a major cause for yield decline. The implications for these findings are as follows. For East Africa to benefit from climate change, improved water and nutrient management will be needed to benefit fully from the more favourable temperatures and increased CO2 concentrations. For West Africa, more research is needed on photosynthesis processes at extreme temperatures and on adaptation options such as shifting sowing dates.
    Kenya public weather processed by the Global Yield Gap Atlas project
    Groot, Hugo de; Adimo, Ochieng ; Claessens, Lieven ; Wart, Justin Van; Bussel, Lenny G.J. van; Grassini, Patricio ; Wolf, Joost ; Guilpart, Nicolas ; Boogaard, Hendrik ; Oort, Pepijn A.J. van; Yang, Haishun S. ; Ittersum, Martin K. van; Cassman, Kenneth G. - \ 2017
    ODjAR : open data journal for agricultural research 3 (2017). - ISSN 2352-6378 - p. 16 - 18.
    The Global Yield Gap Atlas project (GYGA - http://yieldgap.org) has undertaken a yield gap assessment following the protocol recommended by van Ittersum et al. (2013). One part of the activities consists of collecting and processing weather data as an input for crop simulation models in sub-Saharan African countries including Kenya. This publication covers daily weather data for 12 locations in Kenya for the years 1998-2012. The project looked for good quality weather data in areas where crops are pre-dominantly grown. As locations with good public weather data are sparse in Africa, the project developed a method to generate bias corrected weather data from a combination of observed data and other external weather data. The bias corrected weather data consist of daily TRMM rain data and NASA POWER Tmax, Tmin, and Tdew data. These data are corrected based on calibrations with short-term (<10 years) observed weather data.
    Can sub-Saharan Africa feed itself?
    Ittersum, M.K. van; Bussel, L.G.J. van; Wolf, J. ; Grassini, Patricio ; Wart, Justin van; Guilpart, Nicolas ; Claessens, L.F.G. ; Groot, H.L.E. de; Wiebe, Keith ; Mason-d’Croz, Daniel ; Yang, Haishun ; Boogaard, H.L. ; Oort, P.A.J. van; Loon, M.P. van; Saito, Kazuki ; Adimo, Ochieng ; Adjei-Nsiah, Samuel ; Agali, Alhassane ; Bala, Abdullahi ; Chikowo, Regis ; Kaizzi, Kayuki ; Kouressy, Mamoutou ; Makoi, Joachim H.J.R. ; Ouattara, Korodjouma ; Tesfaye, Kindie ; Cassman, Kenneth G. ; Hall, Lindsey ; Kalka, Gogi - \ 2017
    Environmental Science Journal for Teens (2017). - 4 p.
    By the year 2050, the world’s population will need 60% more food than it did in 2005. In sub-Saharan Africa (we’ll call it SSA) (Fig. 1) this problem will be even greater, with the demand for cereals increasing by more than three times as the population rises.
    We collected and calculated farming data for 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This made us realize that countries in SSA must make many large changes to ncrease their yield of cereals (the amount of cereals that are grown on the current farmland each year) to meet this greater demand.
    If countries in SSA are unable to increase cereal yield, there are two options. either farmland areas will have to increase drastically, at the expense of natural land, or SSA will need to buy more cereal from other countries than it does today. This may put more people in these countries at risk of not having enough food to be able to live healthily.
    Phenology, sterility and inheritance of two environment genic male sterile (EGMS) lines for hybrid rice
    El-Namaky, R. ; Oort, P.A.J. van - \ 2017
    Rice 10 (2017). - ISSN 1939-8425 - 17 p.
    Environment-conditioned genic male sterility (EGMS) - Inheritance - Simulation model

    Background: There is still limited quantitative understanding of how environmental factors affect sterility of Environment-conditioned genic male sterility (EGMS) lines. A model was developed for this purpose and tested based on experimental data from Ndiaye (Senegal) in 2013-2015. For the two EGMS lines tested here, it was not clear if one or more recessive gene(s) were causing male sterility. This was tested by studying sterility segregation of the F2 populations. Results: Daylength (photoperiod) and minimum temperatures during the period from panicle initiation to flowering had significant effects on male sterility. Results clearly showed that only one recessive gene was involved in causing male sterility. The model was applied to determine the set of sowing dates of two different EGMS lines such that both would flower at the same time the pollen would be completely sterile. In the same time the local popular variety (Sahel 108, the male pollen donor) being sufficiently fertile to produce the hybrid seeds. The model was applied to investigate the viability of the two line breeding system in the same location with climate change (+2oC) and in two other potential locations: in M’Be in Ivory Coast and in the Nile delta in Egypt. Conclusions: Apart from giving new insights in the relation between environment and EGMS, this study shows that these insights can be used to assess safe sowing windows and assess the suitability of sterility and fertility period of different environments for a two line hybrid rice production system.

    Nitrogen availability, water-filled pore space, and N2O-N fluxes after biochar application and nitrogen fertilization
    Carvalho, Márcia Thaís De Melo ; Madari, Beáta Emoke ; Bastiaans, Lammert ; Oort, Pepijn Adrianus Johannes Van ; Leal, Wesley Gabriel De Oliveira ; Souza, Diego Mendes De ; Santos, Roberto Carlos Dos ; Matsushige, Iva ; Maia, Aline De Holanda Nunes ; Heinemann, Alexandre Bryan ; Meinke, Holger - \ 2016
    Pesquisa Agropecuaria Brasileira 51 (2016)9. - ISSN 0100-204X - p. 1203 - 1212.
    The objective of this work was to investigate the impact of the application of wood biochar, combined with N fertilizations, on N2O-N fluxes, nitrogen availability, and water-filled pore space (WFPS) of a clayey Oxisol under rice (wet season) and common bean (dry season) succession. Manual static chambers were used to quantify N2O-N fluxes from soil immediately after a single application of wood biochar (32 Mg ha-1) and after four crop seasons with N applications (90 kg ha-1 N). Soil ammonium (N-NH4+) and nitrate (N-NO3-)
    availability, as well as WFPS, was measured together with N2O-N fluxes. There was no interaction between biochar and N fertilization regarding N2O-N fluxes in any of the four seasons monitored, although these fluxes were clearly enhanced by N applications. At 1.5 and 2.5 years after biochar application, the WFPS decreased. In addition, in the seasons characterized by low WFPS, N2O-N fluxes and soil N-NO3- and N-NH4+ availability were enhanced after N applications. Long-term experiments in the field are important to quantify the impacts of biochar on N2O-N fluxes and to determine the dynamics of these fluxes on soil-related variables.
    Estimation Of Global Yield Gaps And Implications From Their Analysis
    Ittersum, M.K. van; Vries, Sander de; Oort, P.A.J. van; Grassini, P. - \ 2016
    International Fertiliser Society. Proceedings (2016)795. - ISSN 1466-1314 - 20 p.
    Yield gap analysis has become popular to assess how much and where food production can be increased on existing land. It is also helpful in identifying an acceptable compromise between yield, resource use efficiency and local emissions of nutrients or crop protection agents, as resource use efficiencies tend to decrease once yields exceed a certain percentage of potential yields (e.g. 80%). The literature provides many examples of global and regional studies with yield gap analyses. The global ones are appealing because of their consistent use of one method and global databases, but they lack local or even regional agronomic rigour. Regional studies use a range of different methodologies and are therefore hard to compare mutually.

    In the Global Yield Gap Atlas (www.yieldgap.org) yield gaps of all key agricultural commodities are estimated for all food producing countries, using a global protocol. The protocol is always applied with local data on weather, soils, cropping systems and actual farm yields, and the results are evaluated with local experts.

    This paper presents results for an initial 35 countries covering, respectively, c.60%, 58%, and 35% of global rice, maize, and wheat production. It then demonstrates how results can be used to explore options for future self-sufficiency in cereal production in sub-Saharan Africa, the sub-continent with the fastest increase in cereal demand until 2050. Next, the paper presents a method that enables yield gap analysis to be used for the prioritisation of research and development investments. Once yield gaps have been assessed, a key follow up question is why yield gaps exist: what are their underlying biophysical and socio-economic causes? To this end it is helpful to decompose yield gaps into efficiency, resource and technology gaps. Finally, yield gaps can be usefully translated into nutrient (uptake and application) gaps. These indicate by how much the balanced nutrition of crops should increase to realise a certain percentage of yield gap closure.
    Kenya public weather processed by the Global Yield Gap Atlas project (revised version)
    Groot, H.L.E. de; Adimo, A.O. ; Claessens, L.F.G. ; Wart, J. van; Bussel, L.G.J. van; Grassini, P. ; Wolf, J. ; Guilpart, Nicolas ; Boogaard, H.L. ; Oort, P.A.J. van; Yang, H. ; Ittersum, M.K. van; Cassman, K.G. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University & Research
    weather data - crop simulation model - yield gap - yield potential
    The Global Yield Gap Atlas project (GYGA - http://yieldgap.org) has undertaken a yield gap assessment following the protocol recommended by van Ittersum et al. (2013). One part of the activities consists of collecting and processing weather data as an input for crop simulation models in sub-Saharan African countries including Kenya. This publication covers daily weather data for 12 locations in Kenya for the years 1998-2012. The project looked for good quality weather data in areas where crops are pre-dominantly grown. As locations with good public weather data are sparse in Africa, the project developed a method to generate bias corrected weather data from a combination of observed data and other external weather data. The bias corrected weather data consist of daily TRMM rain data and NASA POWER Tmax, Tmin, and Tdew data. These data are corrected based on calibrations with short-term (<10 years) observed weather data.
    Can sub-Saharan Africa feed itself?
    Ittersum, Martin K. Van; Bussel, Lenny G.J. Van; Wolf, Joost ; Grassini, Patricio ; Wart, Justin Van; Guilpart, Nicolas ; Claessens, Lieven ; Groot, Hugo de; Wiebe, Keith ; Mason-d’Croz, Daniel ; Yang, Haishun ; Boogaard, Hendrik ; Oort, Pepijn A.J. van; Loon, Marloes P. van; Saito, Kazuki ; Adimo, Ochieng ; Adjei-Nsiah, Samuel ; Agali, Alhassane ; Bala, Abdullahi ; Chikowo, Regis ; Kaizzi, Kayuki ; Kouressy, Mamoutou ; Makoi, Joachim H.J.R. ; Ouattara, Korodjouma ; Tesfaye, Kindie ; Cassman, Kenneth G. - \ 2016
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (2016)52. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 14964 - 14969.
    Although global food demand is expected to increase 60% by 2050 compared with 2005/2007, the rise will be much greater in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Indeed, SSA is the region at greatest food security risk because by 2050 its population will increase 2.5-fold and demand for cereals approximately triple, whereas current levels of cereal consumption already depend on substantial imports. At issue is whether SSA can meet this vast increase in cereal demand without greater reliance on cereal imports or major expansion of agricultural area and associated biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions. Recent studies indicate that the global increase in food demand by 2050 can be met through closing the gap between current farm yield and yield potential on existing cropland. Here, however, we estimate it will not be feasible to meet future SSA cereal demand on existing production area by yield gap closure alone. Our agronomically robust yield gap analysis for 10 countries in SSA using location-specific data and a spatial upscaling approach reveals that, in addition to yield gap closure, other more complex and uncertain components of intensification are also needed, i.e., increasing cropping intensity (the number of crops grown per 12 mo on the same field) and sustainable expansion of irrigated production area. If intensification is not successful and massive cropland land expansion is to be avoided, SSA will depend much more on imports of cereals than it does today.
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