Earlier this week, a very comprehensive climate report was released that received a lot of attention, criticism, and of course media attention.
This is a very comprehensive report covering all facets of life but we had particular interest in the section that dealt with agriculture.
The key messages for this section are quite sobering with the net upshot being that climate disruptions to agriculture have risen over the past 40 years and will continue over the next 25 years with an increasingly negative impact on most crops and livestock.
In particular, warming temperatures and extremes in precipitation at both ends will challenge producers and policy-makers.
We will have more to say about this report in future posts but the topic of temperature change is certainly relevant and noteworthy.
The accompanying graphic shows the slope in temperatures for two 50 year time periods, 1914-1963 and 1964-2013 for the top 21 corn and soybean producing states for the month of July.
The difference of the average July temperature for the two time periods is also plotted. Even though 100 years’ worth of weather data is a small sample there are some interesting observations.
On one hand it can be said that the more recent 50 year period in the top corn and soybean states saw cooler July temperatures than seen in the earlier 1914-1963 period.
Just seven of the states had average July temperatures warmer in the 1964-2013 period as opposed to the 1914-1963 period led by Colorado that had readings 0.82 degrees Fahrenheit warmer.
On the other hand, for all 21 states temperatures have been rising by various degrees over the past 50 years as opposed to the 1914-1963 period when only Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas exhibited this trend and for these four states, July temperatures are increasing at a faster pace now as opposed to the earlier period.
Colorado has the highest rate of increase with average July temperatures increasing by an annual rate of 0.043 degrees with MI and ND also seeing an marked increase in average July temperatures.
There has been a lot of talk about how U.S. corn acreage has continued to expand north based on better crop returns than other crops that used to be grown in this area.
The trend of rising temperatures with the Upper Midwest now having average warmer readings, a longer growing season, and a delayed first fall freeze event has also played into this development.