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Study Models Future Effects of Climate Change on US Corn and Soybean Yields, Production, and Exports

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) modeled how climate-linked changes in temperatures and precipitation might affect future U.S. corn and soybean yields and what that would mean for markets and trade through the middle of the next decade.

The study used 2016 as a base year, and the model estimated an increase in U.S. corn yields but a decrease in soybean yields by the year 2036. These changes would affect U.S. corn and soybean exports. In the model, corn exports are projected to increase 0.36% by 2036, compared with 2016, while soybean exports drop 1.17% for a total decrease for the two crops of as much as US$256 million by 2036.

The U.S. corn yields were estimated to increase 3.1% by 2036, representing historically slow yield growth compared with previous decades. In contrast, soybean yields were projected to decrease by 3%. With these yield changes, the use of land in corn and soybean production also was expected to shift. U.S. corn producers are expected to plant fewer acres of corn because of increased yields while soybean producers are projected to increase acreage to offset the impact of the expected yield decrease.

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