Double cropping and cropland expansion boost grain production in Brazil

Jialu Xu, Jing Gao, Henrique Vinicius de Holanda, Luis F. Rodríguez, José Vicente Caixeta-Filho, Renhai Zhong, Hao Jiang, Haifeng Li, Zhenhong Du, Xuhui Wang, Shaowen Wang, K. C. Ting, Yibin Ying, Tao Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brazilian grain production increased more than fourfold from 1980 to 2016. The grain boom was achieved primarily by soybean–corn double cropping and cropland expansion—both show changing spatiotemporal patterns since the 1980s. Here, we quantified the contributions of these two strategies to corn and soybean production in Brazil using municipality-level data from 1980 to 2016. We found the contribution of double cropping to the grain boom steadily increased to 35% and the largest driving force was the increasing demand for grain export. While double cropping dominated the conventional agricultural regions, cropland expansion was still the major strategy in agricultural frontiers such as the Centre-West and Matopiba. The implementation of double cropping offset the equivalent of 76.7 million ha of Brazilian arable land for grain production from 2003 to 2016. Double cropping in Brazil has the potential to help alleviate land burdens in other pantropical countries with increasing global food demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-273
Number of pages10
JournalNature Food
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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