Integrated assessment of crop production and resource use efficiency indicators for the U.S. Corn Belt

Sara Riccetto, Adam S. Davis, Kaiyu Guan, Cameron M. Pittelkow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To address the global challenge of increasing the efficiency of food production in an era of climate change, integrated research frameworks based on multiple performance criteria are required to promote synergies while minimizing tradeoffs. In this study, we investigated spatial and temporal trends in yield gaps, resource use efficiencies for nitrogen and water, and yield stability at the county-level in the U.S. Corn Belt, the world's largest maize production region. Our results provide an integrated assessment of regions with higher vs. lower relative performance across indicators, while also revealing high spatial variability in relationships between yield gaps and nitrogen and water use efficiencies. Despite overall positive trends in maize production, there was evidence of increasing disparity over time, with more improvements occurring in highly productive areas. This study provides a holistic framework for balancing efforts to increase crop production, resource use efficiencies, and yield stability at the regional scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100339
JournalGlobal Food Security
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Maize yield gap
  • Nitrogen partial productivity
  • Nitrogen surplus
  • Sustainable intensification
  • Water productivity
  • Yield stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research


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