Quantification of Yield Gaps in Rain-fed Rice, Wheat,Cotton and Mustard in India: Global Theme on Agroecosystems Report no. 43 uri icon


  • In order to meet increasing demands of food due to rising population and income, food production in India andother south Asian countries need to be increased. Rain-fed agriculture in India, practiced on 94 million hectares(M ha), is considered a major source of production increase in future. This report analyses the magnitude ofrain-fed potential yield gaps of rice, wheat, mustard and cotton crops, considering the spatial and temporalvariation in climatic features. These yields can be interpreted as the upper limit that can be achieved by thecurrent varieties in a rain-fed scenario with soil and weather as the only yield reducing factors. InfoCrop, ageneric dynamic crop simulation model with sensitivity to variety, agronomic management, soil, weather,flooding, frost and pests and calibrated and validated in typical rain-fed and irrigated cultivating areas ofthese crops was used for quantification of rain-fed potential yields in different regions. Yields in technologymaximization experiments (Plant Breeder?s fields) and on-farm technology demonstration plots (Front-linedemonstrations) have also been used as additional measures of potential yield. Yield gaps were calculated asthe difference between these yield levels and the region?s average measured yields. The results showed thatirrespective of the definition of potential yield, there was considerable yield gap across all states in all cropsindicating large scope for increasing rain-fed yields in future. On an average, the gap relative to simulatedrain-fed potential yields was 2560 kg ha-1 for rice, 1120 kg ha-1 for cotton and 860 kg ha-1 for mustard. Suchnational average rain-fed yield gaps could not be estimated in wheat because of large percent of irrigated area inall states. The mean yield gap based on the average of simulated, experimental and on-farm rain-fed potentialyields was 1670 kg ha-1 for rice, 770 kg ha-1 for cotton, 460 kg ha-1 for mustard and 70 kg ha-1 for wheat. Itremains to be quantified if these biophysical estimates of yield gaps can be bridged economically

publication date

  • 2008