Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Volume 3 Issue 7, July 2022

Closing the genetic yield gap

The yield gap is the difference between the potential yield of a crop under management that minimizes yield losses from biotic and abiotic stresses and the actual farm yields under dominant management practices and soil conditions. A wheat simulation model was used at 53 study sites across the world under optimum local wheat cultivar management practices to estimate potential yield (globally, 6 dry matter tonne per hectare (DM t ha–1)), and the difference between the current mean global wheat yield (3 DM t ha–1) indicates a global yield gap of 50% due to sub-optimal crop and soil conditions.

Genetic yield potential represents the yield that could be achieved in target environments through genetic improvements compared with yields from current local cultivars. Eight wheat traits relating to canopy structure, phenology, root water uptake and drought tolerance that are considered important for yield improvement, large available genetic variation, high heritability and breeder friendliness were optimized in designed wheat ideotypes based on current cultivars. The global genetic yield gap is estimated to be 51%, ranging from 30% (lowest, New Zealand) to 70% (highest, Australia and Kazakhstan). The genetic yield gap quantifies opportunity for increasing productivity through genetic improvement.

See Senapati et al. and Hasegawa and Wilson

Image: Alexandra Hassel / EyeEm / Getty. Cover Design: Tulsi Voralia.


Top of page ⤴

Comment & Opinion

  • The Ukraine–Russia war will impact global food security over months if not years. In the wake of COVID-19 and in the face of increasing climate change, we propose responses to a multi-layered global food crisis that mitigate near-term food security risks, stabilize wheat supplies and transition towards long-term agri-food system resilience.

    • Alison R. Bentley
    • Jason Donovan
    • Bram Govaerts
Top of page ⤴

Books & Arts

Top of page ⤴

Research Highlights

Top of page ⤴

News & Views

  • Nutrient security in the United Kingdom appears to be stable and secure, but it is unclear whether this will continue to be the case if dietary patterns change, or if new trade arrangements emerge.

    • Alan Matthews
    News & Views
  • In silico cultivar selection estimates that the global potential wheat yield may be doubled. However, there remain many challenges in leveraging the yield potential into practice.

    • Toshihiro Hasegawa
    • Lloyd T. Wilson
    News & Views
  • Advancing wheat sowing dates has a large benefit to crop yields in the Eastern Ganges Plain of India. The contribution of better crop calendar management to yield gains should be studied more extensively around the world, especially in underperforming regions.

    • Beibei Liu
    • Yi Yang
    News & Views
Top of page ⤴

Research Briefings

  • Tillage on slopes thins the soil and reduces crop yields. Increased yields in regions where soil is deposited partially compensate for this reduction in crop yields at regional scales. However, continued increases in tillage intensity and climate-change-induced increases in dry spells may lead to reduced crop yields.

    Research Briefing
Top of page ⤴


Top of page ⤴

Amendments & Corrections

Top of page ⤴


Quick links