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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    Assessing household and landscape trajectories for improving ecosystem services and nutritional self-sufficiency in south Mexico
    Pontin Novotny, Ivan - \ 2020
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): P.A. Tittonell; W.A.H. Rossing, co-promotor(en): M.H. Fuentes-Ponce; S. López-Ridaura. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463953320 - 164
    A multi-objective optimization model for dairy feeding management
    Notte, Gastón ; Cancela, Héctor ; Pedemonte, Martín ; Chilibroste, Pablo ; Rossing, Walter ; Groot, Jeroen C.J. - \ 2020
    Agricultural Systems 183 (2020). - ISSN 0308-521X
    Dairy production - Evolutionary algorithms - Multi-objective - Pareto front - Resource allocation

    The allocation of feedstuff to intensively managed dairy cows to achieve different objectives is challenging due to the inherent complexity of the system and the combinatorial problem that has to be solved. Pareto-based multi-objective optimization approaches using evolutionary algorithms can help to address these challenges and show the trade-offs and synergies among various objectives. Here we present a framework for multi-objective optimization with the Differential Evolution (DE) algorithm applied to dairy feeding systems with grazing and concentrate supply to generate an approximation of the Pareto front. The available feed resources are located in different feeding areas, and the number of animals and groups of animals with similar feeding requirements are distributed across these areas for feeding purposes. To evaluate the DE algorithm, we performed two in-silico experiments to: (1) compare the solutions quality of single-objective DE with exact Linear Programming (LP) solutions, and (2) assess the influence of different stocking rates (number of cows/ha) on milk production, feed allocation and economic performance indicators. The DE solutions that minimize the feeding costs for different stocking rates (1.1–2.6 cows/ha) closely approached the solutions derived with LP, confirming the quality of the heuristic algorithm. The multi-objective model scenarios demonstrated that increasing stocking density would enhance milk production and gross margin per unit of area at largely unchanged productivity per animal by shifting the feed ration from roughage to a large proportion of supplementary concentrate feed. At low stocking rates solutions with high productivity and gross margin and a large proportion of roughage in the ration and limited supplementary feeding were identified. We conclude that the multi-objective optimization with a Pareto-based DE algorithm is highly effective to explore the interrelations among conflicting objectives and to find suitable solutions.

    Approaches to identify the value of seminatural habitats for conservation biological control
    Holland, John M. ; Jeanneret, Philippe ; Moonen, Anna Camilla ; Werf, Wopke van der; Rossing, Walter A.H. ; Antichi, Daniele ; Entling, Martin H. ; Giffard, Brice ; Helsen, Herman ; Szalai, Mark ; Rega, Carlo ; Gibert, Caroline ; Veromann, Eve - \ 2020
    Insects 11 (2020)3. - ISSN 2075-4450 - p. 1 - 11.
    Conservation biological control - Crop pests - Field margins - Integrated pest management - Landscape ecology - Natural capital - Natural enemies - Sentinel systems

    Invertebrates perform many vital functions in agricultural production, but many taxa are in decline, including pest natural enemies. Action is needed to increase their abundance if more sustainable agricultural systems are to be achieved. Conservation biological control (CBC) is a key component of integrated pest management yet has failed to be widely adopted in mainstream agriculture. Approaches to improving conservation biological control have been largely ad hoc. Two approaches are described to improve this process, one based upon pest natural enemy ecology and resource provision while the other focusses on the ecosystem service delivery using the QuESSA (Quantification of Ecological Services for Sustainable Agriculture) project as an example. In this project, a predictive scoring system was developed to show the potential of five seminatural habitat categories to provide biological control, from which predictive maps were generated for Europe. Actual biological control was measured in a series of case studies using sentinel systems (insect or seed prey), trade-offs between ecosystem services were explored, and heatmaps of biological control were generated. The overall conclusion from the QuESSA project was that results were context specific, indicating that more targeted approaches to CBC are needed. This may include designing new habitats or modifying existing habitats to support the types of natural enemies required for specific crops or pests.

    Sustainability transition pathways through ecological intensification: an assessment of vegetable food systems in Chile
    Gaitán-Cremaschi, Daniel ; Klerkx, Laurens ; Duncan, Jessica ; Trienekens, Jacques H. ; Huenchuleo, Carlos ; Dogliotti, Santiago ; Contesse, María E. ; Benitez-Altuna, Francisco J. ; Rossing, Walter A.H. - \ 2020
    International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 18 (2020)2. - ISSN 1473-5903 - p. 131 - 150.
    alternative food system - conventional food system - ecological intensification - Food system - sustainability transition

    Ecological intensification has been proposed as a promising lever for a transition towards more sustainable food systems. Various food systems exist that are based on ecological intensification and may have potential for a sustainability transition. Little is known, however, about their diversity and about how they perform against dominant systems in terms of the multiple societal goals. The aim of this study is to contribute to knowledge about sustainability transitions in food systems through an empirical analysis of vegetable food systems in Chile. The study (i) characterizes the diversity of vegetable food systems in Chile (ii) evaluates the food systems in terms of multiple societal goals, and (iii) assesses their potential for supporting sustainability transition pathways from the perspective of ecological intensification. Results indicate that among the five vegetable food system types, the agroecological and the small organic have potential to foster a sustainability transition. Nevertheless, these systems are small and localized, and scaling them requires actions to remove barriers in the relations with the agri-food regime and among themselves. The broader relevance of this analysis is that there needs to be awareness in research on transitions about the diversity of food systems present in countries and how they interact.

    Analysis and design of strip cropping systems
    Apeldoorn, D.F. van; Ditzler, L.L.E. ; Stout, Bo ; Selin Norén, Isabella ; Cuperus, Fogelina ; Sukkel, W. ; Rossing, W.A.H. - \ 2019
    In: First European Conference on Crop Diversification. - INRA - p. 264 - 265.
    Applying the aboveground-belowground interaction concept in agriculture: Spatio-temporal scales matter
    Veen, G.F. ; Jasper Wubs, E.R. ; Bardgett, Richard D. ; Barrios, Edmundo ; Bradford, Mark A. ; Carvalho, Sabrina ; Deyn, Gerlinde B. De; Vries, Franciska T. de; Giller, Ken E. ; Kleijn, David ; Landis, Douglas A. ; Rossing, Walter A.H. ; Schrama, Maarten ; Six, Johan ; Struik, Paul C. ; Gils, Stijn van; Wiskerke, Johannes S.C. ; Putten, Wim H. van der; Vet, Louise E.M. - \ 2019
    Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7 (2019)AUG. - ISSN 2296-701X
    Above-belowground biotic interactions - Agroecology - Spatio-temporal scales - Steering communities - Sustainable agriculture

    Interactions between aboveground and belowground organisms are important drivers of plant growth and performance in natural ecosystems. Making practical use of such above-belowground biotic interactions offers important opportunities for enhancing the sustainability of agriculture, as it could favor crop growth, nutrient supply, and defense against biotic and abiotic stresses. However, the operation of above-and belowground organisms at different spatial and temporal scales provides important challenges for application in agriculture. Aboveground organisms, such as herbivores and pollinators, operate at spatial scales that exceed individual fields and are highly variable in abundance within growing seasons. In contrast, pathogenic, symbiotic, and decomposer soil biota operate at more localized spatial scales from individual plants to patches of square meters, however, they generate legacy effects on plant performance that may last from single to multiple years. The challenge is to promote pollinators and suppress pests at the landscape and field scale, while creating positive legacy effects of local plant-soil interactions for next generations of plants. Here, we explore the possibilities to improve utilization of above-belowground interactions in agro-ecosystems by considering spatio-temporal scales at which aboveground and belowground organisms operate. We identified that successful integration of above-belowground biotic interactions initially requires developing crop rotations and intercropping systems that create positive local soil legacy effects for neighboring as well subsequent crops. These configurations may then be used as building blocks to design landscapes that accommodate beneficial aboveground communities with respect to their required resources. For successful adoption of above-belowground interactions in agriculture there is a need for context-specific solutions, as well as sound socio-economic embedding.

    Strokenteelt mais op veen geeft goede indruk
    Cuperus, Fogelina ; Apeldoorn, Dirk van; Ditzler, Lenora ; Sukkel, Wijnand ; Rossing, Walter - \ 2019
    Grazing management for more resilient mixed livestock farming systems on native grasslands of southern South America
    Modernel, Pablo ; Picasso, Valentin ; Carmo, Martin Do; Rossing, Walter A.H. ; Corbeels, Marc ; Soca, Pablo ; Dogliotti, Santiago ; Tittonell, Pablo - \ 2019
    Grass and Forage Science 74 (2019)4. - ISSN 0142-5242 - p. 636 - 649.
    drought - grazing management - livestock farming systems - native grasslands - resilience - Rio de la Plata grasslands

    Droughts in southern South America affect grazing systems in many ways. They reduce biomass productivity; decrease livestock feed intake, weight and reproductive performance; increase farmers’ costs; and reduce farm income. It was hypothesized that simple grazing management variables affect the resilience of grazing systems to droughts at the paddock and farm scales. The effects of grazing management on herbage and animal production were assessed at paddock level, and how technological and structural variables relate to the production and economic performances at farm level. Results of a grazing experiment controlling herbage allowance at paddock level showed that resistance of herbage accumulation and animal live weight to drought was significantly higher for paddocks with higher pre-drought herbage allowance than for those managed to low herbage allowance treatments. A strong positive linear relationship was found between pre-drought herbage height and resistance of herbage accumulation rate (p <.01). In a longitudinal study of nine farms in Uruguay, resistance of cow pregnancy rate to drought was positively correlated with cow pregnancy rate (r =.72, p =.02) and farm net income (r =.78, p =.02), and negatively correlated with sheep-to-cattle ratio (r = −.80, p =.01). These correlations suggest that farms with higher incomes and low proportions of sheep in the herd withstand drought better (in terms of pregnancy rate). Four common regional production strategies were identified that react differently when farmers face drought, and these results can aid farmers in those regions to design more resilient mixed livestock farming systems and can inform policymakers about effective strategies for mitigating drought impacts in the region.

    Dispersal of a carabid beetle in farmland is driven by habitat-specific motility and preference at habitat interfaces
    Allema, Bas ; Hemerik, Lia ; Rossing, Walter A.H. ; Groot, Jeroen C.J. ; Lenteren, Joop C. van; Werf, Wopke van der - \ 2019
    Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 167 (2019)8. - ISSN 0013-8703 - p. 741 - 754.
    Carabidae - Coleoptera - dispersal models - habitat discontinuities - model selection - population redistribution

    Carabid beetles are common predators of pest insects and weed seeds in agricultural systems. Understanding their dispersal across farmland is important for designing farms and landscapes that support pest and weed biological control. Little is known, however, about the effect of farmland habitat discontinuities on dispersal behaviour and the resulting redistribution of these beetles. We released 1,985 well-fed and 1,680 food-deprived individuals of the predatory carabid beetle Pterostichus melanarius (Illiger) (Coleoptera: Carabidae) on a farm in Wageningen, The Netherlands. We recaptured 23.6% of those beetles over a period of 23 days in 2010. The farmland comprised agricultural fields with various crop species and tillage, separated by strips of perennial vegetation. We developed discrete Fokker-Planck diffusion models to describe dispersal based on motility (m2 day−1) and preferential behaviour at habitat interfaces. We used model selection and Akaike’s information criterion to determine whether movement patterns were driven by variation in motility between habitats, preferential behaviour at habitat interfaces, or both. Model selection revealed differences in motility among habitats and gave strong support for preferential behaviour at habitat interfaces. Behaviour at interfaces between crop and perennial vegetation was asymmetric, with beetles preferentially moving towards the crop. Furthermore, beetles had lower motility in perennial strips than in arable fields. Also between arable habitats movement was asymmetric, with beetles preferentially moving towards the habitat in which motility was lowest. Neither crop type nor tillage explained differences in motility between crop habitats. Recapture data representing dispersal patterns of beetles were best described by a model that accounted for differences in motility between farmland habitats and preferential behaviour at habitat interfaces. Motility in farmland and behaviour at interfaces can also be estimated for other organisms and farmland habitats to support design of farmland conducive to natural pest suppression. Landscape design for early recruitment of carabids into arable fields should take into account the quantity and quality of resource habitats in the landscape, their proximity to crop fields, movement rates, and the possibility of movement responses at interfaces between landscape elements.

    Onderzoek strokenteelt resultaten 2018 : Meer diversiteit, meer biodiversiteit en betere gewaskwaliteit in strokenteeltproeven
    Cuperus, Fogelina ; Apeldoorn, D.F. van; Ditzler, L.L.E. ; Sukkel, W. ; Rossing, W.A.H. - \ 2019
    Ekoland 39 (2019)6. - ISSN 0926-9142 - p. 12 - 13.
    Characterizing diversity of food systems in view of sustainability transitions. A review
    Gaitán-Cremaschi, Daniel ; Klerkx, Laurens ; Duncan, Jessica ; Trienekens, Jacques H. ; Huenchuleo, Carlos ; Dogliotti, Santiago ; Contesse, María E. ; Rossing, Walter A.H. - \ 2019
    Agronomy for Sustainable Development 39 (2019)1. - ISSN 1774-0746 - 22 p.
    Agricultural innovation systems - Agricultural production systems - Agroecology - Food regime - Food system - Grassroots movements - Sustainability transitions - System diagnosis - Transformations - Value chains

    Dominant food systems are configured from the productivist paradigm, which focuses on producing large amounts of inexpensive and standardized foods. Although these food systems continue being supported worldwide, they are no longer considered fit-for-purpose as they have been proven unsustainable in environmental and social terms. A large body of scientific literature argues that a transition from the dominant food systems to alternative ones built around the wider principles of sustainable production and rural development is needed. Promoting such a sustainability transition would benefit from a diagnosis of food system types to identify those systems that may harbor promising characteristics for a transition to sustainable food systems. While research on food system transitions abounds, an operational approach to characterize the diversity of food systems taking a system perspective is still lacking. In this paper we review the literature on how transitions to sustainable food systems may play out and present a framework based on the Multi-Level Perspective on Socio-Technical Transitions, which builds upon conceptual developments from social and natural science disciplines. The objectives of the framework are to (i) characterize the diversity of existing food systems at a certain geographical scale based on a set of structural characteristics and (ii) classify the food systems in terms of their support by mainstream practices, i.e., dominant food systems connected to regimes; deviate radically from them, niche food systems such as those based on grassroots innovation; or share elements of dominant and niche food systems, i.e., hybrid food systems. An example is given of application of our framework to vegetable food systems with a focus on production, distribution, and consumption of low-or-no pesticide vegetables in Chile. Drawing on this illustrative example we reflect on usefulness, shortcomings, and further development and use of the diagnostic framework.

    Livestock farming systems on South American native grasslands: when production meets conservation
    Modernel, Pablo - \ 2018
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): P.A. Tittonell, co-promotor(en): M. Corbeels; W.A.H. Rossing; S. Dogliotti Moro. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463435291 - 237

    The livestock industry faces the double challenge of coping with the increasing demand for animal protein and reducing its high load on the environment. On the one hand, livestock has been recognized for its contribution to the economy, providing 40% of global agricultural GDP, ensuring a living for farmers, maintaining rural heritage and traditional farming landscapes, providing draft power, fuel, and sources of nutrients, particularly proteins. On the other hand, the livestock industry emits 13-18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, occupies 33% of total arable land and is responsible for 8% of global water use.

    South American Río de la Plata grasslands comprise more than 500,000 km2, including all of Uruguay, north-eastern Argentina and southern Brazil. These grasslands provide feed for 43 million heads of cattle and 14 million sheep. The biome is habitat of 4000 native plant species, 300 species of birds, 29 species of mammals, 49 species of reptiles and 35 species of amphibians. They store 5% of the total soil organic carbon stock of Latin America on 3% of the area, and they protect soils from erosion. Cropping areas and livestock herds have shifted spatially. Regions that used to integrate crop-livestock systems have specialized in cropping, decreasing stocks but increasing beef confined systems (feedlots). Regions with historical predominance of cattle due to low-potential productive have been increasing in stocking rates which could aggravate overgrazing problems. Land-use change very likely increased provisioning services while very likely decreased supporting and regulating services. Overgrazing regimes with low forage allowances were predominantly associated with negative effects on provisioning and supporting and regulating ecosystem services. The most documented impacts of land use-change and overgrazing include: reducing soil organic carbon stocks and the diversity of plants, birds and mammals, and increasing soil erosion.

    In order to identify the diversity in farming systems, the first biome-wide beef farm typology of the Rio de la Plata grasslands was constructed. While seven farm types were identified, most of the farms belonged to the family farms, with cow-calf operations using native grasslands. We identified positive deviant farms, which performed excellently in economic and environmental terms when compared to the other farms in the region, and, more generally, to farms from OECD countries. These positive deviant farmers achieved 192 kg LW ha-1 yr-1 or 201 US$ ha-1 year-1 with negligible fossil energy consumption and phosphorus surplus, low carbon footprint (13 kg CO2 eq kg LW-1) and having over 95% of their land under native grassland. This means that the native grassland-based farming systems of the Río de la Plata grasslands region have the potential to produce high-quality beef with low use of inputs and preserve biodiversity, thus constituting one of the most sustainable livestock farming system models. However, the greenhouse gas emissions per unit of product may be high when compared to other forms of protein production as a consequence of the digestive system of the ruminant.

    Droughts may affect grazing systems at multiple levels: they reduce plant growth and biomass production, decrease intake, weight, and reproductive performance of livestock, increase costs and reduce income for farmers, and affect rural communities and even countries’ economies. The relationship between management and resilience to drought at paddock and farm level was studied. At paddock level, higher herbage allowance increased the resistance of herbage accumulation rate and animal weight. A positive relationship was found between pre-drought herbage height and resistance of herbage accumulation to drought, which means that herbage height can be used as a guideline for grassland management. The sheep to cow ratio was negatively correlated with pregnancy rate of cows, a key variable defining meat production and farm income.

    The economic and environmental issues with livestock production systems discussed above demand local actions by stakeholders. One such action is to actively work on the redesign of individual farms, to improve farmer livelihoods and ecosystem service provision. To aid this process we present and evaluate a dynamic whole-farm simulation model (PASpALuM). The model elucidates the relations between grazing management, productivity and environmental impact. The herbage dynamics module was evaluated against experimental data, showing acceptable simulation of the seasonal dynamics of herbage height and mass. A simulation exercise explored the effect of grazing management on enteric methane emissions and soil organic carbon from 2007 to 2009.

    Maintaining this example of nature inclusive agriculture and improving it to the level of agriculture-inclusive nature, seems possible by changing grassland management strategies. Contributions to greenhouse gas emissions by livestock will remain, but this should be seen as the price to be paid for maintaining a unique and priceless biome that cannot be maintained in another way than through low-intensity grazing by ruminants. The contribution of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock systems on native grasslands is determined by the carrying capacity of the grasslands and will remain much lower per hectare than that of intensive pastures. Solutions for global meat production should be considered within social and ecological boundaries. Such quest is not advanced by unilateral reliance on one size fits all efficiency measures.

    Weerbare teeltsystemen maatschap Rozendaal experimenteert met strokenteelt : maatschap Rozendaal experimenteert met strokenteelt
    Rossing, W.A.H. ; Westhoek, Annet - \ 2018
    Ekoland (2018)5. - ISSN 0926-9142 - p. 31 - 31.
    Strokenteelt vraagt denkwerk : Vermindering bladluizen in erwt geteeld in de stroken
    Apeldoorn, D.F. van; Cuperus, Fogelina ; Singh Sondh, Harpreet ; Sukkel, W. ; Rossing, W.A.H. - \ 2018
    Ekoland 38 (2018)5. - ISSN 0926-9142 - p. 26 - 27.
    Exploring ecosystem services trade-offs in agricultural landscapes with a multi-objective programming approach
    Groot, Jeroen C.J. ; Yalew, Seleshi G. ; Rossing, Walter A.H. - \ 2018
    Landscape and Urban Planning 172 (2018). - ISSN 0169-2046 - p. 29 - 36.
    Ecosystem services - Landscape design - Multifunctional landscapes - Pareto-based multi-objective differential evolution
    In this paper, we present the LandscapeIMAGES modeling framework for multi-scale spatially explicit analysis of tradeoffs and synergies among ecosystem services provisioning across agricultural landscapes. The framework generates large sets of spatially explicit land-use and management scenarios to inform discussions among stakeholders involved in landscape planning processes. The generated plans are evaluated and optimized for multiple indicators of ecosystem services provisioning. The framework has been developed with an object-oriented programming approach to allow rapid implementation of new indicators and application to new case study landscapes. The modeling system includes (i) a generic framework for Pareto-based multi-objective optimization to generate a set of land-use and management plans, (ii) an easily expandable collection of modules to quantify indicators of ecosystem services provisioning, which can be used as objectives or constraints in optimization, and (iii) a graphical user interface that allows parameterization of the model and inspection of the original and generated land-use and management plans. This allows visualization of trade-offs and synergies among ecosystem services as a consequence of land-use and management planning choices. LandscapeIMAGES is currently used in projects aiming to improve the provision of multiple ecosystem services within landscapes in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
    Identification of beef production farms in the Pampas and Campos area that stand out in economic and environmental performance
    Modernel, P. ; Dogliotti, S. ; Alvarez, S. ; Corbeels, M. ; Picasso, V. ; Tittonell, P. ; Rossing, W.A.H. - \ 2018
    Ecological Indicators 89 (2018). - ISSN 1470-160X - p. 755 - 770.
    Carbon footprint - Grazing - Livestock - Multivariate analysis - Nutrient balance - South America - Sustainability
    Worldwide, native grasslands are being converted to non-native pastures and cropland. This process threatens local grassland biomes as well as the livelihoods of farm families that utilize these grasslands. In the Río de la Plata grasslands region meat production and multispecies native grasslands have coexisted for more than 400 years. Low levels of meat productivity and farm income, however, trigger replacement of native grasslands by crops and leys and threaten the survival of local beef farming systems. We studied the economic and environmental performance of beef farming in the region based on interviews and field measurements on 280 case study farms with the following aims: (a) to identify the multi-functional economic and environmental performance of beef farms across the Rio de la Plata grasslands biome; (b) to identify farms with ‘outstanding’ multi-functional performance; (c) to compare performance levels with those found in other regions; and (d) to discuss the implications of the outstanding farms for the development of new systems of meat production. The representativeness of the case study farms was ascertained by comparing them with a farm typology constructed from survey data of 15,448 beef farms situated predominantly on native grasslands in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. We identified seven farm types on the basis of farm size, labour, farm specialization, land use and stocking rate. We identified positive deviant farms based on Pareto-ranking and compared these with a classification based on threshold values provided by experts. Out of the 280 farms, 41 were ranked as Pareto-optimal, i.e. outperformed other farms in one or more indicators without being outperformed in other indicators. Out of these, 5 were positive deviants, achieving on average 192 kg LW ha−1 yr−1 of livestock productivity and 201 US$ ha−1 year−1 farm income, having most favourable values for fossil energy consumption, phosphorus balance, carbon footprint and having over 95% of their land under native grassland as a proxy for biodiversity conservation value. Four of these farms belonged to farm types that together represented 55% of the population, suggesting scope for widescale improvement. Compared to the values reported for the OECD countries the beef farming systems of the Río de la Plata grasslands region consume less energy and positive deviant farms demonstrated approximately average livestock productivity and carbon footprint. Increasing livestock productivity in the Rio de la Plata grasslands region resulted in a stronger decline of the carbon footprint without compromising the current negligible levels of fossil fuel energy use. Further elucidation of management practices that lead to positive deviant performance will require modelling of the interaction of pasture and herd dynamics at farm level and is needed to support targeted policy support for sustainable natural grassland-based beef production in the region.
    Feeding the world while reducing farmer poverty? Analysis of rice relative yield and labour productivity gaps in two Beninese villages
    Paresys, Lise ; Saito, Kazuki ; Dogliotti, Santiago ; Malézieux, Eric ; Huat, Joël ; Kropff, Martin J. ; Rossing, Walter A.H. - \ 2018
    European Journal of Agronomy 93 (2018). - ISSN 1161-0301 - p. 95 - 112.
    Labour productivity gap - Labour-saving technologies - Management practices - Rice - Yield gap
    Improvements in agricultural land and labour productivity are needed to meet the growing food demand and reduce farmer poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The objectives of this study were to (i) quantify variation in labour inputs, yield and labour productivity among rice fields; (ii) elicit factors associated with this variation; and (iii) identify opportunities for improving yield and labour productivity. The study was carried out in two contrasting Beninese villages: Zonmon in the south and Pelebina in the north-west. In Zonmon 82 irrigated rice fields were surveyed during the 2013 and 2014 dry seasons. In Pelebina 50 rainfed lowland rice fields were surveyed over three rainy seasons (2012–2014). Data on farmer field management practices and field conditions were recorded through interviews with farmers, on-farm observations and measurements. Stepwise regression analyses were used to identify variables associated with variation in yield, labour inputs and labour productivity. Average yields were 4.8 ± 2.0 t ha−1 in Zonmon and 2.3 ± 1.2 t ha−1 in Pelebina. Average labour productivity, however, was larger in Pelebina (17 kg of paddy rice person-day−1) than in Zonmon (8 kg of paddy rice person-day−1). Relative yield gaps (43–48%) and labour productivity gaps (59–63%) were similar in the villages. There was no trade-off between yield and labour or labour productivity within the villages, suggesting that in many cases rice yields can be increased without additional labour inputs. The major labour-demanding farming operations were bird scaring in Zonmon and harvesting and threshing in Pelebina. We identified opportunities to improve rice yield and labour productivity, given current farmer knowledge and resource endowment. Based on the statistical models fitted per village, increasing the average hill density would result in up to 1.2 t ha−1 more yield, and up to 4 kg person-day−1 greater labour productivity for Zonmon. Increasing the average field size and avoiding rice shading would result in up to 0.8 t ha−1 more yield, and up to 17.1 kg person-day−1 greater labour productivity for Pelebina. Further enhancing yield and labour productivity will require (i) introducing small-scale mechanisation and other labour-saving innovations, in particular for labour-demanding farming operations such as bird scaring in Zonmon and harvesting and threshing in Pelebina; and (ii) combining analyses of yields and labour productivities at field level with detailed analyses of labour use and labour productivity at farm level. We found that, on average, one hectare in Zonmon contributed twice as much to Beninese rice production than one hectare in Pelebina but with a two times smaller reward for farmer labour. This paradox of higher yields but lower labour productivity in such different rice growing environments and farming systems should be addressed in elaborating development policies.
    Between all-for-one and each-for-himself : On-farm competition for labour as determinant of wetland cropping in two Beninese villages
    Paresys, Lise ; Malézieux, Eric ; Huat, Joël ; Kropff, Martin J. ; Rossing, Walter A.H. - \ 2018
    Agricultural Systems 159 (2018). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 126 - 138.
    Farm typology - Labour - Management system - Production system - Wetlands
    In sub-Saharan Africa, unexploited land and water resources in wetlands represent an important potential for intensified, sustainable and food-secure farms through rice production and market gardening. The lack of uptake of cropping in wetlands may be related to the ways in which resources are divided between family fields and individual fields. The management system on sub-Saharan African farms comprises a family management unit or a combination of a family management unit and one or more individual management units. The family management unit or the farm head controls production in family fields to satisfy family needs while the individual management units control production in individual fields to satisfy individual needs. Our objective was to investigate the diversity in farm management systems and the resulting uptake of cropping in wetlands for different farm types, as the first step towards suggestions for enhancing rice production and market gardening in wetlands. We studied farms in two case-study villages in Benin: Zonmon in the southern part and Pelebina in the north-western part. Farm typologies were developed based on random samples of 51 out of 134 farms (38%) from Zonmon and 50 out of 146 farms (34%) from Pelebina by combining principal component analysis and Ward's minimum variance clustering. Variables included in the PCA were related to levels of resource endowment (e.g., amounts of land, family labour, cash for purchasing chemical inputs and hiring labour) and to resource-use strategies including resource division between family fields and individual fields, and between uplands and wetlands. We identified 3 farm types in Zonmon and 5 farm types in Pelebina based on differences in resource-use strategies and in resource endowment. We found no trade-off between the existence of individual fields and the area under rice and market garden crops in wetlands. Labour abundance was the main factor driving both the occurrence of individual fields and the expansion of cropping in wetlands. Differences in labour division strategies between family and individual fields among farm types reflected differences in food and cash division strategies. Land use appeared strongly motivated by food self-sufficiency objectives and labour productivity, leading to prioritisation of upland over wetland areas. In wetlands, most farm types opted for cultivating market garden crops during the dry season when labour demand for upland fields was low. Our results indicate that increasing labour productivity in food crops and in rice and market garden crops would enhance the uptake of rice and market garden crops in wetlands. Creating credit facilities would increase the labour resource and allow farmers to hire labour, further contributing to wetland use. We discuss the relevance of a systemic farm analysis that enables distinguishing family and individual fields for understanding farm uptake of rice and market garden crops in wetlands.
    Strokenteelt klaar voor de praktijk : aardappel drie tot tien dagen later branden
    Apeldoorn, D.F. van; Rossing, W.A.H. ; Oomen, Gerard - \ 2017
    Ekoland (2017)5. - ISSN 0926-9142 - p. 10 - 11.
    strokenteelt - aardappelen - akkerbouw - phytophthora - zomertarwe - teeltsystemen - landbouw - biologische landbouw - teelt - strip cropping - potatoes - arable farming - phytophthora - spring wheat - cropping systems - agriculture - organic farming - cultivation
    Na de eerste verkenningen met het telen in stroken zijn onderzoeken naar de effecten ervan verder uitgebreid. Inmiddels zijn er meerdere strokenproeven verdeeld over vier locaties – Droevendaal, ERF, De Graanrepubliek en NZ27 – en zijn de verwachte voordelen van dit teeltsysteem bevestigd. Afhankelijk van de inrichting van het bedrijf en aansluitende mechanisatie lijkt strokenteelt klaar voor de praktijk.
    Combining farm typology and yield gap analysis to identify major variables limiting yields in the highland coffee systems of Llano Bonito, Costa Rica
    Bhattarai, Sanjeeb ; Alvarez, Stéphanie ; Gary, Christian ; Rossing, Walter ; Tittonell, Pablo ; Rapidel, Bruno - \ 2017
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 243 (2017). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 132 - 142.
    Boundary-line analysis - Coffee (Coffea arabica L.) - Costa Rica - Farm diversity - Farming systems - Yield limiting factor

    Yield variability in space and time is a well-known phenomenon in the highland coffee production systems of Costa Rica. Our objective was to systematically unravel variations and gaps in yields due to the combined effects of farm resources and major production variables in a region of premium quality highland coffee. We surveyed 40 coffee producing farms varying in size from small to large in Llano Bonito, Costa Rica to examine their diversity based on their resources. We further conducted an agronomic diagnosis and yield estimates in 97 individual measuring plots in 63 coffee fields over two cropping years (2013–2014 and 2014–2015). We categorized farm diversity through a resource endowment typology built by combining direct observation with the use of multivariate analysis and clustering techniques. This resulted in four farm types: large farms depending on external labour (Type 1, 25%), large farms with livestock (Type 2, 20%), small farms dedicated to coffee (Type 3, 38%), and small farms with an off-farm income (Type 4, 17%). We then analysed coffee yield variability and yield gaps through a boundary line approach. The mean yields for two cropping years fluctuated between 2.5 ± 0.18 and 1.6 ± 0.12 t ha−1 on farm types 1 and 2 respectively. Though the yields did not differ strongly across farm types, there was a weak tendency (p = 0.10) towards yield variability between study years. The combined use of farm typology and yield gap analysis revealed multiple farm‐specific production variables that were significantly related to gaps in attainable yields. For any intervention to improve and stabilize yields in the future, the heterogeneity of farm orientation, management practices, production geographical context and soil properties must be given proper attention and integrated into crop, shade tree and soil management practices.

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