More extreme weather conditions threaten EU's wheat production
Higher frequency of extreme weather conditions makes it more difficult not only to predict harvests but also to breed crop plants that can better cope with future climate.
"Drastic regional variations in climatic conditions also require regional strategies to climate change adaptation. In some areas, we need to be able to cultivate varieties that are resistant to heat; elsewhere, both better tolerance of drought and heat will be required. In other areas the varieties mainly have to survive low temperatures and water logging.
"Thus research and agricultural policy should support and invest in advanced breeding and modelling approaches and their integration for accelerating delivery of new diverse varieties of wheat for the different 'future environments'," argues Reimund Rötter.
Similar risks apply to other crops as well
The FACCE MACSUR project runs regional pilot studies throughout Europe on the effects of climate change and adaptation of farming practices on future crop production and food supply. In addition to wheat, the novel indicator method will be applied to the risk assessment of other crops as well. The Finnish regional pilot study is run in northern Savo.
"Although our results highlight the potential of adverse impacts of changing climate on wheat, similar risks apply to other crops as well, for their growing times and sensitive periods partially overlap with wheat, "adds Reimund Rötter.
More information: Trnka, M., Rötter, R.P., Ruiz-Ramos, M. et al. (2014). "Adverse weather conditions for European wheat production will become more frequent with climate change." DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2242 . Abstract available: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2242.html.
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