Resource use efficiencies as indicators of ecological sustainability in potato production : a South African case study

Show simple item record Steyn, J.M. (Joachim Marthinus), 1963- Franke, A.C. Van der Waals, Jacqueline Elise Haverkort, A.J. (Anton) 2016-11-04T08:44:27Z 2016-12
dc.description.abstract Potato, the most important vegetable crop in South Africa, is produced in many distinct geographical regions differing in climate, soils, production seasons and management practices and access to markets. These differences affect the amount of input resources required to produce potatoes as well as yields and crop value, and therefore the use efficiencies of land, water, nutrients, seed and energy. Resource use efficiencies affect the ecological and financial sustainability of potato production in this region, which has in general less favourable potato growing conditions than north-western Europe and the U.S.A., where high resource use efficiencies are usually recorded. This study aimed to assess and benchmark South African potato production regions, representing a wide range of growing conditions, regarding their use of input resources and to identify resource-intensive practices, which may suggest inefficient use of inputs. Surveys were conducted in 2013 and 2014 by interviewing growers in all production regions, to provide data on resource use efficiencies. Quantitative modelling approaches were applied to calculate carbon footprints as a proxy of energy use efficiency, potential crop yields and irrigation needs for each region. Variability in the gap between potential and actual yield was used to identify yield limiting factors. Actual yields achieved were on average 60% of the potential yield, suggesting fairly efficient use of available production factors. Water, seed and nutrient use efficiencies differed widely between and within regions and were not directly proportional to water requirements and yields achieved. Fertilizers (34%) and irrigation (30%) were the greatest contributors to energy use in potato crop production. Energy required to pump water was strongly related to the amount of irrigation applied, pumping depth and distance. Long distance travel of produce to retail points contributed substantially to energy use. Significant improvements in efficiencies are possible by improving management practices. Analysis of the variability in resource use efficiencies between farms and regions provided production sustainability indicators that can assist growers in identifying inefficient practices and yield limiting factors. These can be addressed through the use of decision support systems, such as irrigation scheduling tools, to improve resource use efficiencies and the sustainability of production, not only for the production efficiency of the specific study area, but also for the economic efficiency of potato production anywhere else. en_ZA
dc.description.department Plant Production and Soil Science en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2017-12-31
dc.description.librarian hb2016 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship This work was financially supported by Potatoes South Africa. en_ZA
dc.description.uri en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Steyn, JM, Franke, AC, Van der Waals, JE & Haverkort, AJ 2016, 'Resource use efficiencies as indicators of ecological sustainability in potato production : a South African case study', Field Crops Research, vol. 199, pp. 136-149. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0378-4290 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1872-6852 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j.fcr.2016.09.020
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Elsevier en_ZA
dc.rights © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Notice : this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Field Crops Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. A definitive version was subsequently published in Field Crops Research, vol. 199, pp. 136-149, 2016. doi : 10.1016/j.fcr.2016.09.020. en_ZA
dc.subject Agricultural input en_ZA
dc.subject Agro-ecological zones en_ZA
dc.subject Yield potential en_ZA
dc.subject Crop model en_ZA
dc.subject Competitiveness en_ZA
dc.subject Yield gap analysis en_ZA
dc.subject Carbon footprint en_ZA
dc.subject South Africa (SA) en_ZA
dc.title Resource use efficiencies as indicators of ecological sustainability in potato production : a South African case study en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA

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