State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Water/commodity series (1)Wheat yield: China,US, and India

China shows the biggest improvement in yield over last 50 years; it improved almost by six times, while United States only doubled and India tripled. Although China and India showed very similar yield level in 1960s, China started to take off around early 1970. United States shows a relatively little change in yield and China caught up US in terms of yield around 1982.

Take a look at Yield: motion chart and Yield: time series chart in this link. (Instruction for motion charts: select all three countries and click play button.)

Since 2000, US and India have been showing almost stagnant yield at a similar level, while China has steadily improved its yield even higher. With a pressure to feed about 20% of the world population on only about 7% of the world’s arable land, Chinese government was alarmed about food shortage and security problem and invested in researches concerning yield, such as irrigation improvements and genetic improvements of grain yield (so-called “Super Wheat”).

The Yield: time series chart shows India’s current wheat production (blue line) and expected wheat production (red line) with an assumption that India had improved its yield to the level of China. If India had improved its yield to the level of China, India could have more than 50% increase in production from the land currently used for agriculture. This way, India would be able to solve food shortage problem that India might have to face in near future because of climate change or population growth. With better irrigation system and higher yield, India can have increase production from the same or even less land with equal or less stress on water resource.

(work by Timothy Gildner and Ju Young Lee)

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14 years ago

[…] to the previous post about wheat yield, though China is showing much higher yield than India with as much agricultured […]