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Volume 57, Issue 6 p. 2959-2971

The Economics of Yield Maintenance: An Example from Florida Sugarcane

Andrew Schmitz

Corresponding Author

Andrew Schmitz

Food and Resource Economics Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611

Corresponding author ([email protected]).Search for more papers by this author
Manhong Zhu

Manhong Zhu

Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Albuquerque, NM, 87113

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First published: 23 August 2017
Citations: 4

Assigned to Associate Editor Jorge da Silva.

All rights reserved.


The seminal work by Edmé et al. (2005) was reviewed to examine both the dynamics of sugarcane yield changes and the impact of new sugarcane varieties in Florida. That study used linear trend regression analysis on the 1968 to 2000 period and found significant yield and sugar content improvements due to new genetics. Using the same statistical technique, this study indicates that neither of these was significant after 2000. The concept of yield maintenance is introduced where it is quite possible that significant investment in research and development (R&D) is needed to prevent yields from dropping significantly. Even so, there can be a high rate of return to R&D investment in new crop varieties even though yields may not show a positive increase. It is possible that the rates of return to R&D for new crop variety developments have been underestimated.