CR 67:179-190 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01367

Yield gap of winter wheat in Europe and sensitivity of potential yield to climate factors

Shaoxiu Ma1,2,3,4,8,*, Galina Churkina5,6, Arthur Gessler1,3,9, Ralf Wieland1, Gianni Bellocchi7

1Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalder Straße 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
2Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll-Straße 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
3Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 12489 Berlin, Germany
4Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, PR China
5Geography Department, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 12489 Berlin, Germany
6Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Berliner Strasse 130, 14467 Potsdam, Germany
7INRA, UR0874 Grassland Ecosystem Research, 63039 Clermont-Ferrand, France
8Present address: Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
9Present address: Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: It is not clear whether the changing climate in Europe will be favourable for crop yield in the future. In this study, we quantified the yield gap for the year 2000 and analyzed the sensitivity of the rain-fed potential yield of winter wheat to changes in temperature, precipitation, and CO2 across Europe. The ecosystem model ANTHRO-BGC was used to simulate potential yields; actual winter wheat yield data together with modelled potential yields were used to calculate yield gap. Artificial climate scenarios for the main climate factors used in sensitivity studies were generated according to climate scenarios from the IPCC 4th Assessment Report (AR4). We found that there is currently a large yield gap in Eastern Europe (around 6 t ha-1), whereas in a few developed countries in Western Europe the harvested yield approaches potential yield (around 2 t ha-1). Sensitivity analysis indicates that the rain-fed potential yield could increase by about 14% in Europe, under the assumption that the changes in temperature and precipitation will be the same as those projected for 2050 from AR4, and that CO2 will increase from 380 to 550 ppm. This increase in projected potential yield is mainly due to fertilization effects caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations (15% yield increase), whereas the projected changes in temperature and precipitation will negatively (-1%) affect the rain-fed potential yield in Europe.


KEY WORDS: Potential yield · Rain-fed potential yield · Yield gap · ANTHRO-BGC model · Winter wheat · Sensitivity analysis


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Cite this article as: Ma S, Churkina G, Gessler A, Wieland R, Bellocchi G (2016) Yield gap of winter wheat in Europe and sensitivity of potential yield to climate factors. Clim Res 67:179-190. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01367

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