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Review
, 149 (1), 7-13

Increasing Crop Productivity to Meet Global Needs for Feed, Food, and Fuel

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Review

Increasing Crop Productivity to Meet Global Needs for Feed, Food, and Fuel

Michael D Edgerton. Plant Physiol.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Estimates of global meat consumption and grain-based biofuel production. A, Global meat consumption estimates from OECD-FAO (2008). Meat consumption outside of the OECD is expected to increase by 48 million tonnes/year in the next decade. B, Global grain-based biofuel production estimates from FAPRI (2008). Grain-based biofuel production is expected to increase by 28 billion liters/year in the next decade.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Annual corn yield averages and area planted in the United States and the world. Yield rate of gain in the United States from 1961 to 2007 was 0.11 tonnes ha−1 year−1. Global yield rate of gain was about half of this at 0.06 tonnes ha−1 year−1. Global corn area harvested has been increasing at the rate of 0.93 million ha/year. In the United States, corn area harvested increased by approximately 5 million ha in 2007 and 2008, although the long-term trend is much lower at 0.15 million ha/year (FAO, 2008). Lines indicate yield trend line.
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
U.S. corn yield averages compared to yields obtained with widely used hybrids in test plots. A, National and Iowa corn yield averages (USDA ERS, 2008); Duvick's era hybrid average yields are from Duvick (1997). Iowa state averages are included as the era hybrid experiments were conducted in Iowa. The yield differential between test plots grown in Iowa and the Iowa state averages can be seen to decrease over time from approximately 3 tonnes/ha in 1936 to 1942 to approximately 1.8 tonnes/ha in 1988 to 1991. B, Genetic gain study of DEKALB commercial hybrids released from 2001 through 2006 in the 110-day relative maturity group (RM110), a region of the corn belt stretching across central Iowa. New RM110 commercial hybrids introduced from 2001 through 2006 were tested at 20 locations/year from 2005 through 2007 to produce the reported yield averages. All seed was from the same nursery and none of the hybrids contained biotechnology traits (Trevor Hohls, personal communication). Annual yield improvement was estimated at 0.24 tonnes ha−1 year−1 for this group of hybrids and average yields were 3 tonnes/ha greater than Iowa and 4.2 tonnes/ha greater than the U.S. national average for this set of hybrids.
Figure 4.
Figure 4.
Breeding rates of gain for a multitrait index for 248 corn populations initiated across 3 years. The multitrait index is weighted toward yield, but also incorporates other agronomic traits such as grain moisture and stalk strength (Eathington et al., 2007).
Figure 5.
Figure 5.
Yield advantage of triple-stack corn. Corn hybrids expressing either three biotechnology traits (YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn2 or YieldGard VT Triple) or without any biotechnology traits were tested in yield trials at the indicated number of locations across the United States in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Average yield values are shown in the bars and the yield difference between triple-stack and nontransgenic corn is indicated in the text above the bars. These are average values from yield trials run across corn-growing regions in the United States. Values can be significantly higher in regions with more insect pressure. Nontransgenic corn was treated with insecticide to control corn rootworm.
Figure 6.
Figure 6.
Yield increase in corn plants expressing cspB, a cold shock protein from Bacillus subtilis. Hybrids from a single transgenic event were tested in yield trials over 3 years at managed stress locations. Yield of the transgenic hybrid (green circles) and nontransgenic isogenic hybrids (white circles) at individual locations are plotted against the yield of all entries tested at that location (Castiglioni et al., 2008).
Figure 7.
Figure 7.
Anticipated impact of improvements in agronomics, breeding, and biotechnology on average corn yields in the United States. Rate of yield improvement due to breeding is extrapolated from observations such as those shown in Figure 3B, using data extending across maturity groups from Monsanto's North American corn breeding program. Agronomic (planting density, fertilizer use efficiency, improvements in soil management) contributions to the rate of yield improvement are considered to proceed at current historical rates based on estimates in Duvick (2005). Rate of yield improvement for biotechnology traits is a combination of the effects of current yield-protecting biotechnology traits, the introduction of biotechnology traits for drought tolerance, and additional yield-enhancing biotechnology traits. Biotechnology contributions to yield from herbicide tolerance, corn borer, and corn rootworm protection are estimated from the data presented in Figure 5. Biotechnology contributions to yield from drought tolerance are estimated from data presented in Figure 6 and an assumption that drought conditions strong enough to reduce yield will be seen on approximately 10% of the planted acres. Biotechnology contributions from yield-enhancing transgenes assume the introduction of three new biotechnology traits with effects similar to those described by Padgette (2008) over the course of the next decade. In each case biotechnology trait adoption curves such as those observed for current commercially available biotechnology traits are assumed (Monsanto, 2008).

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