Affordable Access

Integrating a crop model with a greenhouse gas calculator to identify low carbon agricultural intensification options for smallholder farmers in rural South Africa

  • Rusere, F.
  • Dicks, L.V.
  • Mkuhlani, S.
  • Crespo, O.
Publication Date
Jan 22, 2022
External links


Published online: 22 Jan 2022 / Models that enable the estimation of crop yields and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions concurrently are still lacking. This study develops a biophysical modelling framework encompassing a farm typology, a crop model, and a farm-focused GHG calculator to assess productivity (crop yield) and GHG emissions of crop management practices concurrently. Using this modelling framework, the study developed cropping system scenarios based on the concept of conservation agriculture (CA) to identify and design cropping systems that deliver ecological intensifcation for diferent farm types. All farm types were found to be net sources of GHG with cropping system inefciency across all farm types. However, the integration of CAbased practices independently and in combination into farm-type maize-based cropping systems showed signifcant potential in improving crop yields and lowering GHG emissions across all farm types. CA-based practices in combination were more efcient and able to deliver ecological intensifcation with high productivity and ecosystem services which contribute to climate change regulation. This study concludes that the modelling approach identifed intensifcation options that maintain or increase crop yields while reducing GHG emissions at the farm level. This can guide policy simulations and scenario analysis to tailor interventions for farm-type sustainability.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times