Ma et al. used the ecosystem model ANTHRO-BGC to simulate potential yields of winter wheat in Europe (in the years 2000s) and estimated yield gaps by comparing them to actual values. The spatial distribution of yield gaps and an estimation of projected potential yields showed where and how yield production can be improved, while also informing about future food supply. For countries such as Germany and France, it was observed that the potential yield of winter wheat (around 8.5 t ha-1) is similar to the actual yield (around 7 t ha-1), while bigger gaps were estimated in Eastern Europe. Projected increases of atmospheric CO2 concentrations for 2050s (~550 ppm) hold potential to increase winter wheat yield by about 15%. However, changes in mean weather conditions and extreme events such as high temperature, drought and heavy rains may not be favourable for agricultural production.
Posted in Science briefs.