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Nature. 2014 Oct 23;514(7523):486-9. doi: 10.1038/nature13609. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

Producing more grain with lower environmental costs.

Author information

1
1] College of Resources &Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China [2].
2
College of Resources &Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.
3
Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
4
Institute of Crop Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China.
5
College of Resources &Environmental Sciences, Agricultural University of Hebei, Baoding 071001, China.
6
College of Agronomy, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai'an 271000, China.
7
Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China.
8
Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology of Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China.
9
State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Yangling 712100, China.
10
College of Resources &Environmental Sciences, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, China.
11
Institute of Agricultural Environment and Resource, Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Taiyuan 030031, China.
12
College of Resources &Environmental Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China.
13
Research Center of Agricultural Environment &Resources, Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Changchun 130033, China.
14
College of Resources &Environmental Sciences, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450000, China.
15
Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Yangling 712100, China.
16
College of Plant Science &Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China.
17
Crop Physiology, Ecology &Production Center, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128, China.
18
Soil &Fertilizer Research Institute, Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hefei 230031, China.
19
College of Resources &Environmental Sciences, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030, China.

Abstract

Agriculture faces great challenges to ensure global food security by increasing yields while reducing environmental costs. Here we address this challenge by conducting a total of 153 site-year field experiments covering the main agro-ecological areas for rice, wheat and maize production in China. A set of integrated soil-crop system management practices based on a modern understanding of crop ecophysiology and soil biogeochemistry increases average yields for rice, wheat and maize from 7.2 million grams per hectare (Mg ha(-1)), 7.2 Mg ha(-1) and 10.5 Mg ha(-1) to 8.5 Mg ha(-1), 8.9 Mg ha(-1) and 14.2 Mg ha(-1), respectively, without any increase in nitrogen fertilizer. Model simulation and life-cycle assessment show that reactive nitrogen losses and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced substantially by integrated soil-crop system management. If farmers in China could achieve average grain yields equivalent to 80% of this treatment by 2030, over the same planting area as in 2012, total production of rice, wheat and maize in China would be more than enough to meet the demand for direct human consumption and a substantially increased demand for animal feed, while decreasing the environmental costs of intensive agriculture.

PMID:
25186728
DOI:
10.1038/nature13609
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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