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Keywords:

  • Crop diversity;
  • disease;
  • heterogeneity;
  • mixtures;
  • resilience;
  • yield

Abstract

Mixtures of genotypes are the norm in natural and seminatural ecosystems and subsistence agriculture but have been replaced by pure genotypes in modern agriculture to maximise profitability in high-input systems. However, crop function with respect to the stability of yield and quality in particular tends to be lost in this process. Diversity can be reintroduced into cropping systems as a trait not only to confer stability but also to exploit synergies between component genotypes, compensating for potential performance losses against the best performing genotype in any given season or location. Quality need not be compromised, and research has demonstrated practical development and deployment approaches, which challenge the assumed benefits of current approaches to agronomy and achieve enhanced crop function.