Boston, Feb. 17, 2013 Resolving the debate over how best to feed a growing global population requires basic information about current and potential yields at local levels around the world, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln agronomist said.
"We need to have a much finer ability to predict the productive capacity of every hectare of land and its water efficiency. It's fundamental to being able to prioritize the research agenda for agriculture and to determine what form agriculture should take," said Ken Cassman, Robert B. Daugherty Professor of Agronomy at UNL.
Cassman, who also chairs the Independent Science and Partnership Council of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, spoke during the "Alternative Paths to Food Security: Making the Right Choices While Feeding the World" symposium Sunday (Feb. 17) at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston.
"We were successful in the first Green Revolution precisely because there was such a strong consensus," he said. "Everyone understood that we were running out of food and the magnitude of the problem. That's missing today because there aren't robust data and scientific consensus about how much food can be produced on existing farmland, and from that, where and how to increase production."
To provide that foundational data, Cassman and an international research team are developing the Global Yield Gap Atlas, a tool to estimate food production capacity and the gap between current and potential farm yields on every hectare of existing farmland using the best available science and data.
Unlike other efforts to estimate yield potential, the atlas uses a bottom-up approach. Working with colleagues at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, the team is recruiting agronomists worldwide to identify key agricultural areas and collect data about local conditions and farming methods.
These data are t
|Contact: Ken Cassman|
University of Nebraska-Lincoln