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Uncertain future for corn belt crops under climate change

A recent study from the University of Connecticut's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has unveiled concerning forecasts for crop yields in America's Corn Belt. The research, led by Meijian Yang and Professor Guiling Wang, utilized an advanced model to simulate the effects of changing climate conditions on maize and soybean yields. 

Using the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer, the study incorporated detailed data on CO2 concentration, fertilizer usage, and daily climate variables to predict crop growth and yields with high precision.  

The results are particularly daunting for maize, with projections showing a 12% yield decrease by mid-century and a significant 40% reduction by the end of the century. The consensus on these figures among various climate models adds a level of confidence to these predictions. 

Soybeans, however, exhibit a more complex response to climate change. The study suggests that soybean yields may initially benefit from higher temperatures and CO2 levels, potentially leading to increased yields in the mid-century. However, this positive trend is expected to reverse post-2050 as the detrimental effects of heat stress outweigh the benefits of increased CO2. 

The research sheds light on the profound impact climate change is likely to have on two of the most important crops in the U.S. Corn Belt. While it highlights an immediate need for adaptive measures in agriculture, it also underscores the uncertainty and challenges that lie ahead for farmers in this region, grappling with the realities of a changing climate. 

Source : wisconsinagconnection

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