|BOWLES, TIMOTHY - University Of California|
|MOOSHAMMER, M - University Of California|
|SOCOLAR, Y - University Of California|
|CULMAN, STEVEN - The Ohio State University|
|DEEN, WILLIAM - University Of Guelph|
|DRURY, CRAIG - Agriculture And Agri-Food Canada|
|GARCIA Y GARCIA, A - University Of Minnesota|
|GAUDIN, AMELIE - University Of California, Davis|
|HARKCOM, W. SCOTT - Pennsylvania State University|
|Lehman, R - Michael|
|ROBERTSON, G. PHILIP - Michigan State University|
|SALERNO, J - Colorado State University|
|STROCK, JEFFREY - University Of Minnesota|
|GRANDY, A. STUART - University Of New Hampshire|
Submitted to: One Earth
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/13/2020
Publication Date: 3/6/2020
Citation: Bowles, T.M., Mooshammer, M., Socolar, Y., Calderon, F.J., Cavigelli, M.A., Culman, S.W., Deen, W., Drury, C.F., Garcia Y Garcia, A., Gaudin, A., Harkcom, W., Lehman, R.M., Osborne, S.L., Robertson, G., Salerno, J., Schmer, M.R., Strock, J., Grandy, A. 2020. Long-term evidence shows crop rotation diversification increases agricultural resilience to adverse climate conditions in North America. One Earth. 2:284-293.
Interpretive Summary: Increased weather extremes predicted with climate change may increase crop yield variability. This variability may be reduced by increasing crop rotational diversity, but this proposition has not been systematically assessed in the US. Using unique datasets from 11 Long-Term Agroecological Research (LTAR) sites, researchers showed that crop rotational diversity increases corn yield across the US by an average of 30% while yield losses under unfavorable weather conditions such as drought were reduced by 14 to 90%. These results will be of interest to farmers, agricultural scientists and policymakers interested in improving the resiliency of US agriculture.
Technical Abstract: Climate variability threatens crop production and widespread disruptions of food systems in the present and future. Certain agricultural systems that increase environmental sustainability may also increase resilience to weather extremes and produce sufficient food, yet empirical evidence remains sparse. We use extensive long-term crop yield datasets from across a continental precipitation gradient to assess how temporal crop diversification affects maize yields in high-intensity grain systems. Using Bayesian multilevel regression and probability analyses, we show that more diverse crop rotations increase maize yields across all growing conditions (29.7% on average), especially in favorable conditions, and reduce yield losses under unfavorable weather conditions such as drought (14.0–89.9%). Systems approaches like crop rotation diversification must be considered a central component of risk reduction strategies and inform related policies.