Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/20/2007
Publication Date: 12/20/2007
Citation: Cutforth, H., Mcginn, S., Mcphee, K.E., Miller, P. 2007. Adaptation of Pulse Crops to the Changing Climate of the Northern Great Plains. American Society of Agronomy Meetings.vol99 pg 1684-1699
Interpretive Summary: Climate change is an increasingly important factor in agricultural production that must be addressed through greater scientific understanding. Current cropping systems and practices must be responsive and adapt to these changes. This review focuses on sustainability of pulse crops in the northern Great Plains and the repercussions of climate change on the growth and yield response to temperature and water as well as the climate restrictions that define their current geographic locations. Changes to crop water-use efficiency caused by increased CO2 fertilization, accelerated growth rates resulting from higher air temperatures, and total crop failures caused by an increased occurrence and magnitude of weather extremes are discussed. Adaptability of pulse crops to future climate change will be based on shifts in sowing date, altered crop rotations, and likely greater reliance on winter pulses.
Technical Abstract: Climate over the northern Great Plains has generally warmed over the last 60 yr. The rate of warming has varied temporally and spatially, confounding trend analysis for climate indicators such as increased length of the growing season. Change in precipitation has been even more variable. Despite this variability, present-day trends in temperature and precipitation generally coincide with the predicted direction of climate change. The synchrony of current and future trends reinforces the need for investigating adaptation in agriculture to changing climate. Our review is focused on sustainability of pulse crops in the northern Great Plains and the repercussions of climate change, focusing on the growth and yield response to temperature and water, and the climate restrictions that define their current geographic locations. The resilience of pulse crops to present-day weather extremes such as drought, excess water, heat, cool weather during grain filling, and early frost are considered to predict adaptation to future climate change. Features discussed include changes to crop water-use efficiency brought on by increased CO2 fertilization, accelerated growth rates resulting from higher air temperatures, and total crop failures caused by an increased occurrence and magnitude of weather extremes. Adaptation strategies that are discussed include earlier seeding of pulse crops, use of winter pulses, crop sequencing within crop rotations, and alterations to the microclimate such as direct seeding into standing stubble.