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.
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The data that support the findings of this study are available at https://www.ibge.gov.br/.
The codes used for data processing, analysis and visualization during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
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This work was partially funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant nos 31701316 and 32071894, the Chinese Scholarship Council under grant no. 2017DFJ002032 and Zhejiang University.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Food thanks Michaela Theurl, Michael Obersteiner and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Xu, J., Gao, J., de Holanda, H.V. et al. Double cropping and cropland expansion boost grain production in Brazil. Nat Food 2, 264–273 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-021-00255-3
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