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Title:Evaluating pathways toward sustainable intensification for Uruguay rice systems
Author(s):Tseng, Meng-Chun
Director of Research:Pittelkow, Cameron M
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pittelkow, Cameron M
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Davis, Adam; Roel, Alvaro; Villamil, Maria
Department / Program:Crop Sciences
Discipline:Crop Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sustainable Agriculture
Abstract:Transformation of current crop production system is urgent to satisfy the need of increasing yield while preserving the environment. Sustainable intensification (SI) is an outcome-driven research framework which aims to integrate multiple research disciplines to achieve such dual-sided goals in agriculture. However, designing SI pathways can be challenging since there is no established approaches suitable for the wide variety of cropping system contexts and implementation of research projects between multiple disciplines to achieve SI goals might be difficult. This challenge could be even more severe in highly industrialized cropping systems since the resources are often solely dedicated for increasing yield and the opportunities for SI is overlooked. Therefore, finding actionable pathway for SI transformation is crucial. Rice cultivation in Uruguay has been highly industrialized with world-leading productivity in recent decades. As one of the main export-oriented crops without government subsidy, questions has emerged regarding the opportunities of continuously increasing yield in the future. However, studies have highlighted the potential sustainability tradeoffs associated with yield increase using the data from national scale. The variability of tradeoffs between optimizing yield and sustainability has not yet been investigated at field or farm level. In this study, we used a series of field trials and on-farm management records data from rice production systems in Uruguay to develop effective SI framework. The main goal of this study is to utilize the data collected from conventional yield-oriented research systems to develop SI-oriented research with the specific focus on evaluating the variability of SI indices at individual farm level and identifying promising SI management options and exploring the potential of SI on high-yielding systems. The results highlighted the potential for increasing yield via resource use efficiency for farms with medium and low yields. While increasing yield in high-yielding farms is still possible, the risk for compromising sustainability might occur. Important field factors such as nitrogen rate, seeding rate, planting date not only influential to yield but also important for maintain system-level sustainability performance. Though additional research and adaptation may be necessary, the concept of this study can be extended to any modernized crop production system in the word to enhance our understanding of potential tradeoffs between food production and environmental sustainability outcomes.
Issue Date:2020-07-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Meng-Chun Tseng
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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