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Yield uncertainty at the field scale evaluated with multi-year satellite data

Author: Lobell, D.B.
Author: Ortiz-Monasterio, I.
Author: Falcon, W.P.
Year: 2007
Abstract: The level of yield risk faced by a farmer is an important factor in the design of appropriate management and insurance strategies. The difference between field scale and regional scale yield risk, which can be significant, also represents an important measure of the factors that cause the yield gap – the difference between average and maximum yields. While field scale yield risk is difficult to assess with traditional data sources, yield maps derived from remote sensing offer promise for obtaining the necessary data in any region. We analyzed remotely sensed yield datasets for two regions in Northwest Mexico, the Yaqui and San Luis Rio Colorado Valleys, in conjunction with time series of aggregated regional yields for 1976–2002. Regional scale yield risk was roughly 8% of average yields in both regions. Field scale yield risk was determined to be 58% higher than regional scale risk in both regions. The difference between field and regional scale risk accounted for 50% of the spatial variance in yields in the Yaqui Valley, and 70% in the San Luis Rio Colorado Valley, indicating that climatic uncertainty represents an important source of the spatial yield variability. This implies that accurate seasonal climate forecasts could substantially reduce yield losses in farmers’ fields. The results were shown to be fairly sensitive to assumptions about the magnitude and nature of errors in yield estimation, suggesting that improved understanding of estimation errors are needed to realize the full potential of remote sensing for yield risk analysis.
Language: English
Copyright: CIMMYT manages Intellectual Assets as International Public Goods. The user is free to download, print, store and share this work. In case you want to translate or create any other derivative work and share or distribute such translation/derivative work, please contact indicating the work you want to use and the kind of use you intend; CIMMYT will contact you with the suitable license for that purpose.
Type: Article
Region: Global
Pages: 76-90
Journal issue: 1-Mar
Journal: Agricultural Systems
Journal volume: 92
Keywords: Climate variability
Keywords: Remote sensing
Keywords: Risk
Keywords: Wheat
Keywords: Yield
Keywords: Yield gap

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  • Sustainable Intensification
    Sustainable intensification agriculture including topics on cropping systems, agronomy, soil, mechanization, precision agriculture, etc.

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