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From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (CASMGS)



Charles W. Rice, K-State Department of Agronomy, National CASMGS Director

(785) 532-7217 cwrice@ksu.edu

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Department of Agronomy (785) 532-7214 sstaggen@ksu.edu

Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105 swatson@ksu.edu



December 23, 2009





New USDA Report On The Impact
Of Climate Change on Agriculture

Based on a consensus of recent scientific research and modeling, a new report from USDA concludes that climate change is already affecting U.S. agriculture, land resources, water resources and biodiversity. The report, "The Effects of Climate Change on U.S. Ecosystems," identifies many of the effects of climate change on agriculture and other ecosystems in the U.S. over the next several decades. The USDA report was done in cooperation with the University
Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

Some of the reportís main points:

* Grain and oilseed crops will mature more rapidly, but increasing temperatures will heighten the risk of crop failures, particularly where precipitation decreases or becomes more variable.

* Marketable yield of horticultural crops (such as tomato, onion, and fruit) are more vulnerable to climate change than grains and oilseed crops due to the high sensitivity of their quality and appearance to climate factors.

* Livestock mortality will decrease with warmer winters but this will be more than offset by greater mortality in hotter summers. Hotter temperatures also will result in reduced productivity of livestock and dairy animals, due to changes in consumption and lower pregnancy rates.

* Weeds that can thwart agriculture production grow more rapidly under elevated atmospheric CO2, extend their range northward, and are less sensitive to herbicide applications.

* Disease and pest prevalence will escalate as a result of shorter, warmer winters, challenging crop, livestock, and forest systems.

* The trends toward reduced mountain snowpack and earlier spring snowmelt runoff in the Western U.S., and toward increasing drought in the West and Southwest, imply changes in the availability of water and a need to monitor the performance of reservoir systems with implications for water management and irrigated agriculture in that region.

* Climate change is inducing shifts in plant species in rangelands, favoring the establishment of perennial herbaceous species that reduce soil water availability early in the growing season. Shorter winters, however, decrease the need for seasonal forage reserves.

For the complete report, see:

-- Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications