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Rick Worthington Warmer Temps Effect Crops
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: July 06, 2018

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Climate Change has become a politically charged topic - so without starting an argument about it - there are a few things for certain. For instance, warmer average temperatures can have a dramatic impact and affect crop growth if it changes by just a few degrees Celsius.

The research, headed by postdoctoral researcher Michelle Tigchelaar (Ta-Har) at the University of Washington, shows that a 2-to-4-degrees Celsius increase in average temperature would decrease crop yields by at least 18 percent across the United States.

Tigchelaar (Ta-Har) says the range of the temperature increase will be a large determinant on the scale of crop failures.

"So with 2 degrees of warming, the effects are severe but somewhat manageable,” she says. “But with 4 degrees of warming, it becomes really sort of something that we haven't quite seen before."

Tigchelarr says, the good news is, environmental changes are just one of the ongoing obstacles farmers are used to dealing with.

"They deal with changes in their environment regularly, so to some degree you can adapt your farming practices by planting of different dates or planting a slightly different variety," she states.

Some scientists expect the development of biotechnology and farm management would allow corn to grow as normal despite climate changes.

An 18 percent decrease in crop yields would mean a farmer expecting 175 bushels per acre would only bring in about 144 bushels.

Environmentally friendly structural changes and crop adaption to higher temperatures are all possibilities for limiting the damage of harvests.

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