Agricultural Impacts of Climate Change in Indiana and Potential Adaptations
While all sectors of the economy can be impacted by climate variability and change, the agricultural sector is arguably the most tightly coupled to climate where changes in precipitation and temperature directly control plant growth and yield, as well as livestock production. This paper analyzes the direct, indirect and aggregate effects of temperature, precipitation and carbon dioxide (CO2) on agronomic and horticultural crops, and livestock production in Indiana through 2100. Due to increased frequency of drought and heat stress, models predict that the yield of contemporary corn and soybean varieties will decline by 9-20%, although soybean yield losses may be offset by CO2 enhancement. These losses could be partially compensated by adaptation measures such as changes in cropping systems, planting date, crop genetics, soil health, and providing additional water through supplemental irrigation or drainage management. Changes in winter conditions will pose a threat to some perennial crops, including tree and fruit crops, while shifts in the USDA Hardiness Zone will expand the area suitable for some fruits. Heat stress poses a major challenge to livestock production, with decreased feed intake expected with temperatures exceeding 30 °C up to 100 days per year by mid-century. Overall, continued production of commodity crops, horticultural crops and livestock in Indiana is expected to continue with adaptations in management practice, cultivar or species composition, or crop rotation.
climate change, agriculture, Indiana, livestock, horticulture
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