Integrating crop modelling and production economics to investigate multiple nutrient deficiencies and yield gaps
AuthorStott, KJ; Christy, B; McCaskill, M; Benke, KK; Riffkin, P; O'Leary, GJ; Norton, R
Source TitleThe Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsStott, K. J., Christy, B., McCaskill, M., Benke, K. K., Riffkin, P., O'Leary, G. J. & Norton, R. (2020). Integrating crop modelling and production economics to investigate multiple nutrient deficiencies and yield gaps. The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 64 (3), pp.655-676. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8489.12378.
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A method is described for integrating crop modelling and production economics to quantify optimum applications of multiple nutrients and yield gaps. The method is demonstrated for crop production in the high‐rainfall zone of southern Australia. Data from a biophysical crop model were used to overcome the persistent problem of inadequate experimental data. The Mitscherlich function was expanded to accommodate four variable inputs – nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur – and the expansion path was used to determine the economic optimum application of all four nutrients. Modelling revealed the state‐contingent yield potential and the extent to which unrealised yield could be explained by profit‐maximising behaviour and risk‐aversion by growers. If growers and their advisors were guided by the methods described, they would be better equipped to assess crop nutrient demands and limitations, predict yield potential, additional profit and the risks associated with high input systems in a variable climate. If scientists were more aware of the extra profits and the risks involved (as well as the quantitative relationships between inputs and outputs) when thinking about what to produce and how to do so, they would be more circumspect about the net benefits to be obtained from closing yield gaps.
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