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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Climate impacts on agriculture: Implications for crop production

Authors
item Hatfield, Jerry
item Boote, Kenneth -
item Kimball, Bruce
item Ziska, Lewis
item Izaurralde, R -
item Ort, Donald
item Thomson, A -
item Wolfe, D -

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 30, 2010
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/102113/48657
Citation: Hatfield, J.L., Boote, K.J., Kimball, B.A., Ziska, L.H., Izaurralde, R.C., Ort, D.R., Thomson, A.M., Wolfe, D. 2011. Climate impacts on agriculture: Implications for crop production. Agronomy Journal. 103(2):351-370.

Interpretive Summary: Climate change is occurring around the world and the impacts of these changes on agriculture are causing concern about the potential consequences on food security. An analysis of the impacts of climate change on agronomic crops was undertaken to document the expected impacts of rising temperatures and carbon dioxide over the next 30 to 50 years. This analysis also included the potential impacts of increasing variability in precipitation and the effects of rising ozone levels. The crops considered in this analysis were corn, soybean, wheat, rice, sorghum, cotton, peanut, field beans, and tomato. These species of crops don’t exhibit the same response to rising temperature and one of the most sensitive growth stages is pollination and the expectation of increasing chances of heat waves during the summer could negatively impact grain production. The rising carbon dioxide levels are a positive benefit to plants and increase the efficiency of water use; however, this is offset by the rising temperatures increasing the rate of water use. The increasing ozone levels may cause more damage to plants than other stresses. In addition to the direct impacts of climate there are indirect impacts that result from increased weed, insect, and disease pressures on crops because of the more favorable conditions for larger pest populations. Future food security will depend upon understanding the role of climate on crop production and developing adaptive cropping systems to cope with these changes. This information will benefit scientists, policymakers, and educators about the role that climate plays in crop production.

Technical Abstract: Changes in temperature, CO2, and precipitation under the scenarios of climate change for the next 50 years present a challenge to crop production. Understanding these implications for agricultural crops is critical to being able to develop cropping systems which are resilient to stresses induced by climate change. There is variation among crops in their response to CO2, temperature, and precipitation changes and, with the regional differences in predicted climate changes, a situation is created in which the responses will be further complicated. For example, the temperature effects on soybean could potentially cause yield reductions of 2.4% in the south but an increase of 1.7% in the Midwest. The frequency of years when temperatures exceed thresholds for damage during critical growth stages is likely to increase for some crops and regions. The increase in CO2 contributes significantly to enhanced plant growth and improved water use efficiency. A challenge is to understand the interactions of the changing climatic parameters because of the interactions among temperature, CO2, and precipitation on plant growth and development and also on the biotic stresses of weeds, insects, and diseases.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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