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Increasing productivity is the essential characteristic of intensification, with the goal of increasing output per unit input per unit time (season or year).
Crop productivity (or yield) is a measure of the total sum of annual plant production, which is also known as net primary productivity. Crop productivity can be partitioned by tissue type (grain, leaves, stems, etc.) based on how the plant is used. The unused portions of crops are often referred to as crop residues, which is the next indicator.
Crop biomass productivity
For sustainable intensification, the productivity of the land needs to be assessed in terms of all that is produced (not just grain yield). This is especially important where vegetative biomass is used for fodder or returned to the soil.
Animal productivity is the total sum of products and services from animals. In the context of sustainable intensification, the efficiency of that production is important, for example, the amount of land required to produce the feed for the animals. Though there are dozens of species of animals raised for various purposes, the great majority of products...
Variability of production
The risk of low yields or low animal productivity may be even more important in some contexts than the average productivity. Quantifying the variability of productivity over time and space is an important measure of this risk.
Input use efficiency
The concept of efficiency focuses on avoiding or reducing wastage of a resource. Input efficiency is supposed to increase the performance of the system and minimize losses to the environment. It is important to note that input use efficiency should not be used by itself as an indicator but should be used along with yields. The reason for this is that...
Yield gap is measured as the difference between yield potential or water‐limited yield and actual yield. Actual yield may be obtained through surveys or crop cuts; potential yields may be obtained from models and existing secondary sources, such as maps and experimental data.
Cropping intensity is defined as the number of crops a farmer grows in a given agricultural year on the same field (Raut et al., 2011) and is another means for intensification of production from the same plot of land. Cropping intensity is likely to be important to monitor where the intervention affects the likelihood of irrigation or planting during...
Post‐harvest losses such as from insects, mold and rodents can be substantial, thus reducing any benefits from increased productivity.