Northeastern US: More climate effects on corn

02-07-2018 | |
Northeastern US: More climate effects on corn. Photo: Shutterstock
Northeastern US: More climate effects on corn. Photo: Shutterstock

Climate projections indicate more warming will occur in the Northeast than other sections of the United States, and that has implications for corn crops and dairy farms in the region by 2050.

This is according to researchers from Penn State University in the US. The results were published this month in PLOS One.

9 global climate models

The research group analysed potential effects of climate change on corn growth and development at 3 major dairy locations in the Northeast. Using localised projected climate data from 9 global climate models, researchers judged future corn-growing conditions at 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.

Effect on Lancaster County

Depending on which climate scenario occurs, the researchers could see severe impacts on corn production in that major dairy area. Lancaster County for example is looking like it is going to experience more days with extreme temperature stress that will reduce corn yields. The analysis indicates 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. This analysis suggests that management strategies such as shifting the planting dates based on last spring freeze and in some cases irrigation during the greatest water-deficit stages could partially offset the projected increase in heat and drought stress. Future research should focus on understanding the effects of global warming at local levels and determining adaptation strategies that meet local needs, such as those in Lancaster County.

[Source: Penn State University]

Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor