Data

Corn: Yield gap

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What you should know about this indicator

  • Attainable yields are estimates of feasible crop yields calculated from high-yielding areas of similar climate.
  • Attainable yields are more conservative than biophysical 'potential yields', but should be achievable using current technologies and management (e.g. fertilizers and irrigation).
  • Attainable yields are based on assessments for the year 2000. Real attainable yield pre-2000 may be lower; and post-2000 may be higher than these values.
Corn: Yield gap
Yield gaps are the difference between attainable yields and actual yields. Negative values have been replaced by zero, meaning that the attainable yield has been reached.
Source
Mueller et al. (2012); USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) (2024); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
March 26, 2024
Next expected update
March 2025
Date range
1866–2023
Unit
tonnes per hectare

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

Retrieved on
March 26, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Mueller, N., Gerber, J., Johnston, M. et al. (2012) - Closing yield gaps through nutrient and water management. Nature 490, 254-257. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11420
Retrieved on
March 26, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
National Agricultural Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/NASS) - Long-term corn yields in United States (2024).

Crop and livestock statistics are recorded for 278 products, covering the following categories:

  1. Crops primary: Cereals, Citrus Fruit, Fibre Crops, Fruit, Oil Crops, Oil Crops and Cakes in Oil Equivalent, Pulses, Roots and Tubers, Sugar Crops, Treenuts and Vegetables. Data are expressed in terms of area harvested, production quantity and yield. Area and production data on cereals relate to crops harvested for dry grain only. Cereal crops harvested for hay or harvested green for food, feed or silage or used for grazing are therefore excluded.

  2. Crops processed: Beer of barley; Cotton lint; Cottonseed; Margarine, short; Molasses; Oil, coconut (copra); Oil, cottonseed; Oil, groundnut; Oil, linseed; Oil, maize; Oil, olive, virgin; Oil, palm; Oil, palm kernel; Oil, rapeseed; Oil, safflower; Oil, sesame; Oil, soybean; Oil, sunflower; Palm kernels; Sugar Raw Centrifugal; Wine.

  3. Live animals: Animals live n.e.s.; Asses; Beehives; Buffaloes; Camelids, other; Camels; Cattle; Chickens; Ducks; Geese and guinea fowls; Goats; Horses; Mules; Pigeons, other birds; Pigs; Rabbits and hares; Rodents, other; Sheep; Turkeys.

  4. Livestock primary: Beeswax; Eggs (various types); Hides buffalo, fresh; Hides, cattle, fresh; Honey, natural; Meat (ass, bird nes, buffalo, camel, cattle, chicken, duck, game, goat, goose and guinea fowl, horse, mule, Meat nes, meat other camelids, Meat other rodents, pig, rabbit, sheep, turkey); Milk (buffalo, camel, cow, goat, sheep); Offals, nes; Silk-worm cocoons, reelable; Skins (goat, sheep); Snails, not sea; Wool, greasy.

  5. Livestock processed: Butter (of milk from sheep, goat, buffalo, cow); Cheese (of milk from goat, buffalo, sheep, cow milk); Cheese of skimmed cow milk; Cream fresh; Ghee (cow and buffalo milk); Lard; Milk (dry buttermilk, skimmed condensed, skimmed cow, skimmed dried, skimmed evaporated, whole condensed, whole dried, whole evaporated); Silk raw; Tallow; Whey (condensed and dry); Yoghurt.

Retrieved on
March 14, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Production: Crops and livestock products (2023).

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

Read about our data pipeline
Notes on our processing step for this indicator
  • Yield gaps have been calculated by Our World in Data as the attainable yields, as reported by Mueller et al. (2012), minus the actual observed yields, as reported by the UN FAO. Negative values have been clipped to zero, meaning that the attainable yield has been reached.

Reuse this work

  • All data produced by third-party providers and made available by Our World in Data are subject to the license terms from the original providers. Our work would not be possible without the data providers we rely on, so we ask you to always cite them appropriately (see below). This is crucial to allow data providers to continue doing their work, enhancing, maintaining and updating valuable data.
  • All data, visualizations, and code produced by Our World in Data are completely open access under the Creative Commons BY license. You have the permission to use, distribute, and reproduce these in any medium, provided the source and authors are credited.

Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Corn: Yield gap”, part of the following publication: Hannah Ritchie, Pablo Rosado and Max Roser (2022) - “Crop Yields”. Data adapted from Mueller et al., USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/maize-yield-gap [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

Mueller et al. (2012); USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) (2024); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

Mueller et al. (2012); USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) (2024); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data. “Corn: Yield gap” [dataset]. Mueller et al., “Closing yield gaps through nutrient and water management”; USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), “Long-term corn yields in United States”; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Production: Crops and livestock products” [original data]. Retrieved June 20, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/maize-yield-gap