Farming Successin an Uncertain ClimateDavid W. WolfeCornell Universitydww5@cornell.eduwww.climatechange.cornell.edu
Rapid Shift in “Plant Hardiness” ZonesSource: www.arborday.org(maps based on minimum winter temperatures;prior 15 years of...
NE U.S. winters have warmed 4.4 F since 1970(more than average annual temperature warming)Source: C. Wake, University of N...
Apples are blooming8 days earlier thanthey were in the1960sGrapes are blooming 6days earlierLilacs are blooming 4days earl...
but will also bring with it increased weed, disease, and insect pressure,damaging summer heat stress, and new challenges f...
55 57 59 61 63 65 67 // 75°Fcool mild warm hotCurrent NYgrowing season °FAdapted fromG.V.Jones; 20072050 Projected (A1)208...
2012: Apple blossoms under snow and 30-50% of NYS crop lostExpect the unexpected:More frost and freeze damage in a warmer ...
Warmer winters in NE = more pest pressureKudzuCorn earwormFlea beetleMany insects benefit: better overwintersurvival; more...
Days Below -4 F(dark orange= potential spread of Kudzu range)2010-39 2040-69 2070-99“Businessas usual”LoweremissionsWolfe ...
Ambient CO2 Future CO2And high CO2 reduces herbicide efficacye.g. Ziska et al. Weed Science 2004(Ziska et al. 2004 Weed Sc...
051015202530DaysGreaterorEqualto90FDecadeHeat StressNumber of days ≥ 90°F,by decade (since 1870s)Source: A. DeGaetano, NER...
Yet….More Summer Droughts for NEDespite Possible Small Increases in Annual RainfallProjections for 2070-2099,From Hayhoe e...
Crop yield and quality Heat stress and livestockThe Risk of Heat Stress, Drought and Heavy Rains:All Projected to Increase...
SEE: Greene, C.H. December, 2012. The wintersof our discontent. Scientific American.This could promote both coldand warm e...
Farmer Attitudes About Climate ChangeAll farmers are concerned about extreme weather eventsand uncertainty about the weath...
Recent Midwest Survey Results:-The majority (66%) of farmers think climate change is occurring;-Only 4 percent are convinc...
Adaptation•New varieties, new crops, change planting dates•Diversify cropping systems at farm and regionalscales•Develop n...
Decision-Making Under UncertaintyFarmers will require new climate-baseddecision tools for strategic adaptation. Is this “...
Financial Barriers: Equity Issues:Will small family farms have the capital andstrategic information to adapt?
Too much information; misinformationInformational barriers;Cognitive barriers
Agriculture AdaptationBeyond the farm:A role for universities, government agencies, NGOs•New decision tools to explore cos...
Renewable Energyon the Farm
CowPowerAnaerobic DigesterRe-coupling animal and cropproduction systemsto re-cycle nitrogen, carbon, energy
switchgrassCorn pelletsabandoned field:goldenrod and weedsLow Intensity/High Diversity (LIHD)willowBiomass Fuel Crops:recy...
Tillage, Soil Health, andSoil Carbon SequestrationBuilding soil organic matter (reducing tillage, using cover crops, manur...
Nitrogen (N) Management and Greenhouse Gases-Synthetic N fertilizers are energy-intensive toproduce- All N fertilizers (in...
New approaches to N management:Linking models with weather forecastsCornell’s “Adapt-N” web-based nitrogenmanagement syste...
New Tools for C, N, and GHGAccounting and Management (USDA project)Goal:To provide small- to large-scale farmers with low-...
• Taking advantage of changing market opportunities• Strategic decisions regarding capital investments, such as:– New irri...
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CSCR Agriculture Track w/ Dave Wolfe: Weather or Not - Effects of Changing Weather on Local Agriculture

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Climate Smart & Climate Ready Conference Agriculture Track on April 19, 2013 at NYS Grange in Cortland, NY. Prof. Dave Wolfe, Cornell University. Weather or Not: Effects of Changing Weather on Local Agriculture. Farming Success in an Uncertain Climate.

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CSCR Agriculture Track w/ Dave Wolfe: Weather or Not - Effects of Changing Weather on Local Agriculture

  1. 1. Farming Successin an Uncertain ClimateDavid W. WolfeCornell Universitydww5@cornell.eduwww.climatechange.cornell.edu
  2. 2. Rapid Shift in “Plant Hardiness” ZonesSource: www.arborday.org(maps based on minimum winter temperatures;prior 15 years of weather station record)Can farmers adapt to an acceleratingpace of change?
  3. 3. NE U.S. winters have warmed 4.4 F since 1970(more than average annual temperature warming)Source: C. Wake, University of New Hampshire1.8 - 3.63.6 - 5.45.4 - 7.27.2 - 9.0(oF)
  4. 4. Apples are blooming8 days earlier thanthey were in the1960sGrapes are blooming 6days earlierLilacs are blooming 4days earlier[Source: Wolfe DW et al. 2005. Internat J Biometeor 49:303-309.]National Phenology Network: http://www.usanpn.orgThe living world is responding to climate change:For example, in the Northeastern US….
  5. 5. but will also bring with it increased weed, disease, and insect pressure,damaging summer heat stress, and new challenges for water managementFor Farmers of the NE US …Climate change might allow exploration of new species and varieties,
  6. 6. 55 57 59 61 63 65 67 // 75°Fcool mild warm hotCurrent NYgrowing season °FAdapted fromG.V.Jones; 20072050 Projected (A1)2080 Projected (A1)Climate Change and European Wine Grape Variety Options(based on mean Apr-Oct temperature °F )
  7. 7. 2012: Apple blossoms under snow and 30-50% of NYS crop lostExpect the unexpected:More frost and freeze damage in a warmer winter world?
  8. 8. Warmer winters in NE = more pest pressureKudzuCorn earwormFlea beetleMany insects benefit: better overwintersurvival; more generations per season;northward expansion of rangeInvasive weeds benefit
  9. 9. Days Below -4 F(dark orange= potential spread of Kudzu range)2010-39 2040-69 2070-99“Businessas usual”LoweremissionsWolfe et al. 2008. MitgationAdaptation Strategies Global Change13:555-575.
  10. 10. Ambient CO2 Future CO2And high CO2 reduces herbicide efficacye.g. Ziska et al. Weed Science 2004(Ziska et al. 2004 Weed Sci 52:584-588; Ziska et al. 1999. Weed Sci 47:608-615.)
  11. 11. 051015202530DaysGreaterorEqualto90FDecadeHeat StressNumber of days ≥ 90°F,by decade (since 1870s)Source: A. DeGaetano, NERCC, Cornell University01234567DecadeHeavy RainsNumber of days ≥ 2 in. rain,by decade (since 1870s)Historical Increase in Extreme Eventsin New York (since 1870s)
  12. 12. Yet….More Summer Droughts for NEDespite Possible Small Increases in Annual RainfallProjections for 2070-2099,From Hayhoe et al. 2007. ClimateDynamics 28:381-407-Warmer, longer summerswill increase water use byvegetation (potentialevapotranspiration)-Summer rainfall notprojected to increase
  13. 13. Crop yield and quality Heat stress and livestockThe Risk of Heat Stress, Drought and Heavy Rains:All Projected to Increase in NYProjected Milk Production Decline in NEWolfe et al. 2008. MITI 13:555-575.
  14. 14. SEE: Greene, C.H. December, 2012. The wintersof our discontent. Scientific American.This could promote both coldand warm extremes lastingfor weeks at a time.Ideas like this are being studiedand debated, but are not yet provenor understood sufficiently to makeclear future predictions.Expect the unexpected:Melting arctic sea ice affecting jet stream patternsand weather variability??
  15. 15. Farmer Attitudes About Climate ChangeAll farmers are concerned about extreme weather eventsand uncertainty about the weatherRecent polls indicate the majority of farmers acceptthat the climate is changingAll farmers are concerned about uncertain energy costs,and future energy and climate change policies
  16. 16. Recent Midwest Survey Results:-The majority (66%) of farmers think climate change is occurring;-Only 4 percent are convinced it is not
  17. 17. Adaptation•New varieties, new crops, change planting dates•Diversify cropping systems at farm and regionalscales•Develop new strategies for new pests,diseases and weeds•Improve soil resilience to drought and flooding;expand into new sites less prone to water stress;new irrigation and drainage systems•Fruit crop frost protection (site selection,misting, air circulation)•Improve cooling capacity of livestock facilitiesFarm-level adjustments that build resilience
  18. 18. Decision-Making Under UncertaintyFarmers will require new climate-baseddecision tools for strategic adaptation. Is this “normal” bad weatheror climate change?? Do I invest in a newdrainage system?... Or irrigation system? Or both? And when?
  19. 19. Financial Barriers: Equity Issues:Will small family farms have the capital andstrategic information to adapt?
  20. 20. Too much information; misinformationInformational barriers;Cognitive barriers
  21. 21. Agriculture AdaptationBeyond the farm:A role for universities, government agencies, NGOs•New decision tools to explore costs, risks, benefits, andstrategic timing of adaptation•Develop new crop and livestock options (e.g. breeding)•Improved delivery of real-time local weather data•Enhanced pest monitoring and regional data sharing•Disaster risk management and better crop insuranceprograms•Financial assistance for adaptation investments•Land use and climate change policies that integrateeconomic, environmental and equity issues
  22. 22. Renewable Energyon the Farm
  23. 23. CowPowerAnaerobic DigesterRe-coupling animal and cropproduction systemsto re-cycle nitrogen, carbon, energy
  24. 24. switchgrassCorn pelletsabandoned field:goldenrod and weedsLow Intensity/High Diversity (LIHD)willowBiomass Fuel Crops:recycling carbon27
  25. 25. Tillage, Soil Health, andSoil Carbon SequestrationBuilding soil organic matter (reducing tillage, using cover crops, manure and composts): stores carbon in the soil that otherwise would be in the air as CO2 increases resilience to drought and flooding by improving soil water holdingcapacity and drainage
  26. 26. Nitrogen (N) Management and Greenhouse Gases-Synthetic N fertilizers are energy-intensive toproduce- All N fertilizers (including manure and otherorganic sources) give off nitrous oxide(N2O), a potent greenhouse gas, as theydegrade in soils- N management is often inefficientLegume N instead of fertilizer NA broader view of ‘renewable energy’…15
  27. 27. New approaches to N management:Linking models with weather forecastsCornell’s “Adapt-N” web-based nitrogenmanagement system(http://adapt-n.eas.cornell.edu)
  28. 28. New Tools for C, N, and GHGAccounting and Management (USDA project)Goal:To provide small- to large-scale farmers with low-cost soil Cassessment and GHG management tools, and provide policymakerswith tools for evaluation of mitigation incentive options across arange of future climate scenarios.COMET-Farm web toolStrategic soil C assessment 30
  29. 29. • Taking advantage of changing market opportunities• Strategic decisions regarding capital investments, such as:– New irrigation and drainage systems– Livestock facilities with adequate cooling capacity– Planting appropriate perennial fruit crop varieties• Anticipating new weed, disease, insect pests• Avoiding unintended consequences, such as:– Increased chemical loads to waterways– Undesirable land use change and degradation• Promoting policies that support farmer needs for adaptation andmitigation• Increasing profits by better energy and GHG management, andtaking advantage of energy policy incentive programs• Protecting national interests: ag economy, food prices, foodsecurityFarming Success in a Changing Climate:Being Prepared Makes Good Business Sense

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