Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2010
Publication Date: September 15, 2011
Citation: Hatfield, J.L., Singer, J.W. 2011. Climate change: What to expect and how will it affect feedstock production options? In: Brown, R., Karlen, D., Johnson, D., editors. Sustainable Biofuels for Advanced Biofuels. Soil and Water Conservation Society. p. 349-360.
Climate change has been occurring and the expectation is that the rate of change will increase over the next 50 years. Increases in temperature, especially, minimum temperatures, along with a projected increase in extreme temperature events will increase the rate of vegetative plant growth and decrease the length of the reproductive period. There will be shifts in precipitation patterns during the season with a projection that the summer period will become drier over most of the United States leading to the potential for more drought occurrences in agricultural regions. Variations in temperature and precipitation are the major factors causing variation in yields among years. Examination of past maize production in Iowa and Georgia show there has been a steady increase in production; however, in the period from 1970 to 1995 in Iowa, along with the remainder of the Corn Belt, there were variations in stover and grain production by as much as 30% from the trend line. Variations due to weather were more scattered in the Georgia data. The implications, based on the increased variation in temperature and precipitation, are for more variation in agricultural production leading to more uncertainty in the reliability of biofuel supplies. Agricultural management systems will have to be developed to decrease the risk of agricultural production to climate variation in order to maintain a reliable food, feed, and fuel supply.