America & Apos's farming could be decimated by climate change by 2050

America & Apos's farming could be decimated by climate change by 2050


Climate change is threatening corn and dairy industries in Northeast America, a chilling study warns. Current climate projections indicate that more warming will occur in the Northeast than other sections of the United States, and that has severe implications for crop and dairy industries by 2050.

The Northeast is predicted to be the fastest-warming region in the contiguous U.S., with average ambient temperature projected to warm by about 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit when the global average temperature goes up by about 3.6 degrees by 2050.


Current climate projections predict that more warming will occur in the Northeast than other sections of the United States, threatening corn production

Rising temperatures in the southern part of the region threaten corn yields, according to Heather Karsten, associate professor of crop production ecology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

'If climate projections hold, it will threaten the dairy industry in Lancaster County,' Karsten said. 

'Depending on which climate scenario occurs, we could see severe impacts on corn production in that major dairy area. Lancaster County is looking like it is going to experience more days with extreme temperature stress that will reduce corn yields.'

The researchers used projected climate data from nine different global climate models. 

They analyzed future corn-growing conditions in Syracuse, New York, State College, Pennsylvania, and Landisville, Pennsylvania. 

They calculated the number and timing of expected extreme heat days and crop water-deficit periods.

The researchers found that farmers in Lancaster County may have to plant corn earlier in the year and use irrigation techniques, previously only used in the Midwest, in order to maintain corn yields adequate to sustain dairy farms.


The researchers found that farmers in Lancaster County may have to plant corn earlier in the year and use irrigation techniques, previously only used in the Midwest, in order to maintain corn yields adequate to sustain dairy farms

'We expect Lancaster County to see greater frequencies of daily high temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit during key growth stages, and greater water deficit during corn's reproductive stages,' said Rishi Prasad, an assistant professor of crop, soil and environmental sciences at Auburn University.

'Climate models suggest that the higher temperatures will occur most often later in the growing season, and that's when corn plants are vulnerable - when they are silking, pollen is being formed, the endosperm is dividing and kernels growing.'

The researchers learned that corn in the Northeast near the end of the 21st century will experience fewer spring and fall freezes, and a faster rate of growing-degree-day accumulation with a reduction in time required to reach maturity.

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