Eye roller: Study finds climate change induced 'extreme weather' may dramatically reduce wheat production

From Kansas State University, where they apparently don’t look at crop reports like this one:

wheat-corn-soybeans-yield-trendMANHATTAN, Kansas — A recent study involving Kansas State University researchers finds that in the coming decades at least one-quarter of the world’s wheat production will be lost to extreme weather from climate change if no adaptive measures are taken.

Vara Prasad, professor of crop ecophysiology and director of the USAID Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab at Kansas State University, is part of a collaborative team that found wheat yields are projected to decrease by 6 percent for each degree Celsius the temperature rises if no measures to adapt to extreme weather fluctuations are taken. Based on the 2012-2013 wheat harvest of 701 million tons worldwide, the resulting temperature increase would result in 42 million tons less produced wheat — or a loss of nearly one-quarter of the current wheat production.

“It’s pretty severe,” Prasad said. “The projected effect of climate change on wheat is more than what has been forecast. That’s challenging because the world will have to at least double our food supply in the next 30 years if we’re going to feed 9.6 billion people.”

Prasad and colleagues published their study, “Rising temperatures reduce global wheat production,” in a recent issue of the scientific journal Nature Climate Change. The study was supported through the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Wheat Alliance, two organizations seeking ways to increase wheat yield.

For the study, researchers systematically tested 30 wheat crop models against field experiments from around the world that were conducted in areas where the average temperature of the growing season ranged from 15 to 32 degrees Celsius. The models accounted for planting dates, planting rates, temperatures and other crop management factors.

With the models, researchers were able to look at the effects of temperature stresses on wheat and predict future changes based on temperature changes.

Researchers found that the effects from climate change and its increasing temperatures on wheat will be more severe than once projected and are happening sooner than expected. While Prasad said increases in the average temperature are problematic, a bigger challenge is the extreme temperatures that are resulting from climate change.

“Extreme temperature doesn’t only mean heat; it also means cold,” Prasad said. “Simply looking at the average temperature doesn’t really show us anything because it’s the extremities that are more detrimental to crops. Plants can handle gradual changes because they have time to adapt, but an extreme heat wave or cold snap can kill a plant because that adjustment period is often nonexistent.”

Researchers also found that increasing temperatures are shortening the time frame that wheat plants have to mature and produce full heads for harvest, resulting in less grain produced from each plant.

“It’s like having one minute to fill a tall glass with water. Under optimal conditions, we can fill that glass pretty well,” Prasad said. “But now we’re factoring in extreme temperatures that are affecting the growing window and the grain size. So it becomes like trying to fill that same glass, but now we only have 40 seconds to do it and the faucet is running slower.”

Currently, Prasad and colleagues at Kansas State University, in collaboration with the university’s Wheat Genetics Resource Center, are using growth chambers and heats tents to quantify the effects of temperature. The data will help in refining the crop models so that they can be more accurate in predicting wheat responses.

Their work will help scientists develop more robust models that can help farmers globally select more weather-tolerant and resilient wheat varieties based on their location. Additionally, farmers can determine the optimal planting date to avoid stress and minimize possible exposure to extreme weather events, such as heat and cold snaps, during the growing season.

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Kansas is the No. 1 wheat-producing state in the U.S., growing 9.4 million acres of wheat in 2014.

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121 thoughts on “Eye roller: Study finds climate change induced 'extreme weather' may dramatically reduce wheat production

  1. I think that the obsession with fantasy climate change scenarios is an unnecessary tax burden to produce silly studies.

  2. But IF temeratures increase, does this not mean that the northern limit of wheat production moves north; and the further north you go the longer is the growing day.
    Seems to me that total production might well go up, not down.

    • It would if global warming caused only warmer weather. But the hiatus is consistent with the models. Cold weather is also consistent with the models. Therefore some combination of warm/cold/the same weather, along with more/less/ the same rainfall will produce lower yields, because the computer models say so. Sure, wheat yields are increasing, but that is only because wheat doesn’t understand climate science.

  3. oh just lovely…..CO2 changes the weather without changing the temperature again
    These people can’t be this stupid……it’s obvious they are lying

    • “These people can’t be this stupid……”
      Oh yes they can, when you’re stuck in a belief system facts don’t mean a thing, look at most religions; fantasy beats fact every time.

      • I thought extreme weather was already here. They told me it was true. Maybe extreme weather / climate added with toxic co2 caused last year’s record global cereal output.

        FAO – 05/02/2015
        Ample cereal supplies in 2014/15 confirmed and early prospects for 2015 crops mostly favourable
        FAO’s latest forecast for world cereal production in 2014 stands at a new record of nearly 2 534 million tonnes, marginally higher than estimated in December and 13.5 million tonnes (0.5 percent) above the 2013 output……
        http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/csdb/en/

        Based on observations I think this modeled study is cat’s sh!t. It is the hottest evaaaa after all, isn’t it?

    • @ latitude:
      They are not stupid at all.
      “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.”
      From “War Propaganda”, volume 1, chapter 6 of Mein Kampf (1925), by Adolf Hitler
      “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.”
      This statement is generally attributed to Joseph Goebbels , Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda.

  4. This is the outcome when results of an already failing model are fed as input into a second unproven model and ongoing. What can possibly go wrong, as they have vast computing power for unmatched precision?

  5. First it is increasing temperature that will decimate wheat production, then it’s “average temperature doesn’t really show us anything.” This is university research? GMAB!

    • Sadly, I must confess that this is from the university from which I earned my Computer Science degree.

  6. With upcoming new “little Ice Age” wheat production in the Northern states and Canada will probably go down. But since we cannot control the climate, we’ll just have to adapt.

  7. Well, they are right…. IF the models are truen then the wheta will suffer.
    All I read is models, models, models, if, if, if, blah, blah, blah.
    The study lacks the meat to bite into it… sorry, the wheat to make dough

  8. I wonder if their “growth chambers” increased the CO2 to match future atmosphere – that would make a big difference in future production as it has for the past 30 years.

  9. Isn’t it fortunate that there is a robust & rigorous peer-review system in place that stops this kind of nonsense getting published.
    Oh. Wait………

    • Bill, they are not the only ones. 2009 FAO study How to Feed the World in 2050 said 70% (calories, not wheat) for a population increase of 34%, then concluded it would NOT be possible on the yield, arable land, and irrigation trajectories of the past 5 decades! The buried disportportionality assumptions were elimination of malnutrition, increase in total calories per capita, and increase in meat protein ( which is calory inefficient). Unfortunately, other than a recommendation to fling massive ag R&D dollars at developing countries with high population growth (of course administered by the FAO), FAO did not say what might feed the world in 2050. See the food chapter in Gaia’s Limits. It is doable on present trajectories for a 2050 population of about 9.2 billion in some diet scenarios, not others. World is something like 7.2-7.3 billion today. More food is not in the cards without a second green revolution. Unfortunately, past large dwarfing, pest resistance, and best practices gains are not repeatable except where not yet deployed; even if they are everywhere by 2050, this soft carrying capacity is reached. And the greens adamantly reject GMO, which offers some additional yeild opportunity for some important crops but not others. Just a methodical data slog through a big pile of agricultural facts and past innovations to figurate a soft limit. Many here might disagree with any limit, on principle. Read the book, develop an informed opinion.

      • As I said elsewhere, the answer is treecrops. We can replace some human foods, and basically all of our animals feeds with things far more stable and productive per acre. Siberian peashrubs for instance, yields dwarf soy or corn, and it is comparable to soy in nutritional content. Inputs are not mandatory and it thrives in places considered non arable now. There are many others. I also know groups across africa with alternative models with overall yields far surpassing industrial ag crops. Im not exactly sure how all this is still ignored by so many but it is real, and it more then answers our current issues if embraced. I might also point out with proper funding and the most intelligent involved as well we could do much better and faster then the field is progressing atm, so far its mostly back yarders such as myself driving this work.
        Lots of other promising stuff as well. buffalo gourds for instance grow in many “non arable” places, non irrigated. They also have a quality veggie oil, and can be bred with edible gourds as well, so useful for more then just oils. Some student in a texas university showed all this a few years back, then graduated and no one seems to have run with the idea.
        The numbers are still out, but clear enough to see we could dwarf yields per area for several of our needs with treecrops, (and a few other ignored things) and open up or vastly improve many marginal or non arable places. My own methods work across massive areas, nearly useless for food production atm.
        As you likely know several major growing areas rely on irrigation that it is unlikely can be sustained at current levels. Again treecrops answer this well. If we fail to adapt, it will be from ignorance, no because we didnt have a path laid out in front of us to travel down.

      • I meant to say buffalo gourds can be bred with edible squash, not gourds. A tricky project, but it can be done. GM methods could do it fast.

    • Bill:
      That’s because the other 69% of the increase goes into US school lunches meeting Mrs. Obama’s criteria, which the students then throw away.

    • Bill Illis,

      Love the math: 100% increase in production required to feed the 31% increase in population.

      Yeah, he flubbed that one didn’t he. I looked into this one a while back. IIRC, it’s market-driven demand for food which is expected to double in the next 50 years even though population is only expected to grow on the order 30%. Reason cited: increased affluence in developing economies extrapolated from current trends. So the better argument to make is that food production needs to double over the next 50 years to keep pace with the expected demand, else economic growth will be stunted. Which is bad for everyone in a globalized economy.
      The perennial question is how much will the mitigation run us.

      • That is a foolish analysis, assuming demand will double irrespective of supply. Any fool with a smidgeon of economics education will then conclude “food costs will increase”. How did these people earn PhDs while being ignorant of courses routinely taught in high school?

      • Um … it’s the increased demand not keeping pace with supply which allows market players to set a higher clearing price. The macro perspective here is that the inflationary pressure from rising food costs would tend to stunt real GDP growth.
        Which is exactly the same argument against taxing emissions.

  10. Based on the 2012-2013 wheat harvest of 701 million tons worldwide, the resulting temperature increase would result in 42 million tons less produced wheat — or a loss of nearly one-quarter of the current wheat production.
    42 million is one-quarter of 701 million? What am I missing?

  11. Perhaps there was more to this than shown in the extracts, otherwise I have real worries about their mental abilities.
    Take this for example “Based on the 2012-2013 wheat harvest of 701 million tons worldwide, the resulting temperature increase would result in 42 million tons less produced wheat — or a loss of nearly one-quarter of the current wheat production.”
    a quarter of 701 MT is 175million Tons not 42 MT.
    And then there is this. ” the world will have to at least double our food supply in the next 30 years if we’re going to feed 9.6 billion people.””
    so we are feeding 7 Billion people with 701 BT so that 100 Tons per person so 9.6 Billion people will need 9.6 BT to remain the same.
    701BT less 42 BT = 659 BT means we need an increase of 32% not double.

    • To think that they went to Universtity to come up with that, I bet the average UK Secondary School kid could come up with better answers than that.

    • How does 701MT become 701BT? 701MT divided by 7 billion is 100Kg per person of wheat only rather than 100T. Makes a difference. fortunately the majority lives off rice.

      • Yes you are correct I misread it, but the equation stays the same so it makes absolutley no difference, if 100Kg can feed a person now it will be able to do so in 50 years time.

  12. The study was supported through the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Wheat Alliance, two organizations seeking ways to increase wheat yield.

    Well there’s your problem…

  13. But there will be more growing degree days per year, and much land to the north that is currently not producing wheat will be able to. Farmable Canada will go from being 50 miles wide to 75.
    In truth, they have no idea of the size of any change or of the sign of any changes that might be attributable to an increase in average world temperature.

    • As both a Canadian and a farmer I’d like to correct a misconception you seem to be under, Farmable Canada is a lot more than 50 miles wide (we also do not live in igloos and play ice hockey on frozen ponds 11 months of the year). Our farm is about 200 miles north of the border and the farm belt extends several hundred miles further north, past the arctic circle. In the far northern areas of Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories they do grow shorter season crops. The reason why a vast area of Canada has no agriculture is geological, not climactic. It is precambrian shield and it has virtually no topsoil. An increase in temperatures would only cause a minimal expansion in the size of the Canadian farming belt. That being said, an increase in temperatures would cause an increase in production as farmers would be able to grow higher yielding, longer season crops.
      Regardless, ignore this and all other Malthusian studies. The issues are ones of economics, not agronomics. The reason why there are hungry people in the world is not because there isn’t enough food, it is because they don’t have any money to buy food. Our farm has more than doubled our per acre production in the last 30 years through increased inputs and improved technologies. We could theoretically double production again through a large increase in inputs and intensive farming techniques, but we don’t, because that would cost far more than the grain is worth (i.e. what we would get paid for the grain). If the world is willing (and able) to pay more for food, more food will be produced. The key is to ensure that people have enough money to buy food, prosperous nations do not have famines. Sound economic policy will do more to eliminate world hunger than redistributionist policies ever could. The surest way to increase world hunger is to impoverish the world with harebrained economic schemes.

  14. …however, based on the results of this and other studies, Dr. Prasad’s grant funding is expected to increase at an unprecedented pace…

  15. The reality is it will be getting colder and more extremes within the cold trend will become evident as we advance into this decade which may indeed impact wheat production and other crops for that matter.
    So they maybe have it correct but for all the WRONG reasons.

  16. “With the MODELS, researchers were able to look at the effects of temperature stresses on wheat and predict future changes based on temperature changes.”
    Models. I have an Uncle who worked for Ag Canada breeding and growing wheat varieties, half the year in Canada and half the year south of the Salton sea. This would put him on the floor howling with laughter.

    • As a Saskatchewan wheat farmer I am constantly amused by the number of people who have told me over the last 25 years that within 10 or 20 years global warming would cause crop failures in Saskatchewan. Somehow, a crop that has been cultivated for 6000 years in Egypt, would not be able to withstand Saskatchewan’s “warm” climate.

    • I would think they have all the data they need. About 200 km south they will have wheat production that will occur in Kansas if things warm up. About 200 km north they will have wheat production that will occur if things cool down. The wheat belt stretches from Texas to northern Canada, which I believe is north-south, or cold to hot. The custom combiners start harvest early in the south and move north as crops mature (I think they are a dying breed). How many varieties of wheat are there? Looking to predict extreme cold spells or hot spells within a highly seasonal climate is a fool’s mission.

  17. To complete the study they should have tested for lower temperature also.
    Just to be sure if present climate really is better or worse than a colder one.

  18. It is irrelevant that the last 50 years of global warming has resulted in an increase in the production of wheat, since the models say there is a decrease. The amazingly expensive and complex multi-dimensional, synchronous wallapalooza processing models are much more reliable than simple observation.
    These “researchers” must be eating rabbit droppings and thinking they are smart pills. It’s like going to the movies and believing the CGI characters and sets are real, and the live actors and locations fake.

  19. Anecdotally I can agree that extreme temps aren’t good in my garden – frost in July and we’re covering plants but,

    Plants can handle gradual changes because they have time to adapt, but an extreme heat wave or cold snap can kill a plant because that adjustment period is often nonexistent.

    (my bold)
    makes me curious as to exactly how long an “adjustment period” does a wheat plant physiologically require?
    I’ll take my answer to the nearest nano-second, so no big deal.
    Not even going to ask what “gradual” means – centuries?

  20. “Extreme temperature doesn’t only mean heat; it also means cold,”
    Hmmm… Trying to cover all the bases… What a bunch of bovine feces.

  21. As an alumni of K-State I’m saddened that climate nonsense has infected such a practical school. It proves that the corruption of grant money knows no bounds…

    • I imagine that the majority of the Ag department is scoffing at this fantasy-based research and the rebuttals are on the way.

  22. As no-one else has [said] it yet.

    …wheat yields are projected to decrease by 6 percent for each degree Celsius the temperature rises if no measures to adapt to extreme weather fluctuations are taken.

    Why would no-one take any measures to adapt to extreme weather fluctuations if they become more common?
    That’s what mankind has done since before we invented the wheel.

    • There is that and filling the whopper glass . . . wow!
      When universities purchase the climatestrange modeling kit, does it come with an anthology of analogies to select from so that we, the uninformed, will be able to understand their “science”?

  23. A warmer world means a longer growing season and higher yields of grain and other food crops.
    Higher CO2 also increases yield.
    All beneficial for a burgeoning world population.
    The only problem is that the globe has not warmed significantly for over twenty-five years.

  24. Three concrete reasons this model based study does not pass the scratch and sniff test.
    First, FAO tracks wheat yields by country. In the developed world (US, Europe) yield growth slowed to virtually nothing by about 1990 as Borlaug’s green revolution (dwarfing, rust resistance) was fully adopted along with other best practices like optimum fertilizer.. ROW Noticably slowed by 2000. By 2010, even places like Afganistan were fully on green revolution strains. Any remaining yield gains are mainly best practices adoption (e.g. optimum synthetic fertilizer) in places like Afghanistan . Details in Gaia’s Limits. The steady yield progress graphed in this study from combining 32 model inputs simply is not so after 2000 on a global production/hectare basis according to FAOSTAT. It could only come from overweighting (by simple averaging) countries like Afganistan or Pakistan or Ethiopia where best practice gains are still occuring. BTW, same is true with rice. Japan and China flat yields since 1995, still accumulating best practice gains in places like Thailand and Cambodia
    Second, summer extreme heat can affect yield if during anthesis. That a spring wheat, not a winter wheat, issue. According to USDA (I just checked) most world wheat is winter wheat (bread, noodles in China). 3/4 of US, virtually all of China.
    Third, warming would not affect winter wheat growing seasons or anthesis (planted in the fall, harvested the following late spring/ early summer depending on length of winter when the ‘grass’ is dormant. It would lengthen the spring wheat season.
    Bonus questions from Gaia’s Limits. What country is the worlds largest producer of both wheat and potatoes? What country is second? A 1=China, 2=India. And potato yields per hectare have been flat in China since 1990 and since 2000 in India.

    • There are also a number of operators who accept lower yields because new technology allows it to happen at a reduced operating cost. In St. Johns Michigan, where my extended family operates 5 sections, we’ve been stalled at the same level of per-acre corn and soybean yields for several decades. But in 1970 it took six passes through a field by the time you did seed-bed prep, planting, cultivation, mid-season application of herbicides or pesticides, and harvesting. Now were getting just slightly higher yields with 3 passes from low-til practices, and more intelligent use of pesticides. We could probably push the yields by 10 to 15%, but we have no incentive to do that since the more efficient practice leaves us with sustainable land and better operating margins, (although the cost-benefit ratios probably change this year since diesel has become so cheap).

      • Same on my dairy farm in Wisconsin. Very good comment. Our yields are now weather, not technology dependent, including for alfalfa (we use only insect resistant, expensive cultivars). The issue you aptly note is even bigger in the developing world. Many non-farmers do not realize this.
        For cereals, the new strains (wheat, barley, oats, sorghum…) only produce bigger yields with more water. In water deficient or highly variable areas like Ethiopia, the new strainsdo not yield more and would lead to crop failure in dry years. Better to stick with traditional cultivars with lower yield but less failure risk. Nairobi Kenya best practice yields (Katumani research station) with the best new CYMMT drough resistant maize cultivars are still only about half of Madison Wisconsin even tho it gets the same rainfall or more. Problem is the Kenya MAM rainy season is 3 months; corn takes 4-5 to mature. The best shorter 4 month maturities yield significantly less, something we worry about with delayed May planting after longer winters. Also why Wisconsin yields will never equal Iowa or Illinois. Wisconsin gets a fairly even 5 months of rain. Kenya maize will never equal midwest yields.
        The reason dwarf IR8 rice has not taken off in places like Cambodia or Thailand is that yield is much more affected by weeds (due to dwarfing) and needs supplemental synthetic fertilizer unlike traditional lower yield cultivars. Only as these poor farmers can afford herbicides and fertilizer does high yielding IR8 make farming sense. So, only China and Japan have widespread adoption, with yields up to twice elsewhere in Asia.
        .
        The book figuration on food calory capacity used 100% best practices everywhere for all crops by 2050, plus continued yield advance (via GMO) in crops like maize, soy, and cotton, plus no backsliding. In India, half of the irrigated Punjab breadbasket is incurring salt buildup, and being lost at a rate of about 5%/year. Their irrigation groundwater runs out about 2025 unless there is a major change to a wetter climate to recharge those northern India aquifers. In the US over 10 million acres are infested with newly evolved glyphosate resistant weeds (8 major species) that can reduce yields by 50-80%, forces the abandonment of Round Up Ready no til, and still causes yield reductions on the order of 10-20% because of less effective row control tilling and spraying at higher cost. A backslide in the worlds most advanced agricultural heartland. Regards to a fellow farming family.

    • Good, some actual information. Thanks, Rud.
      More on the “research” (think a better word might be “projection”):
      full article is paywalled but –
      abstract and some info:
      http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n2/full/nclimate2470.html#supplementary-information
      53 authors, P.V.V. Prasad was lucky 13th.
      29 references which seems to read like their previous work (buddy list?) and a few others but nothing from the USDA?? What is a thorough review of the lit mean anymore? or does it? Perhaps that is beside the point?
      supplementary materials (3.5 Mb): models used, methods, figures, tables, results
      http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n2/extref/nclimate2470-s1.pdf

      • Bubba, I will go read the supplemental stuff (usually free), but already know what will be found. Article is not worth buying based on the abstract. Spent three years researching Gaia’s Limits. Energy part was easy, except for biofuels. Hardest was food and water. Water because the UNEP uses a nutty definition of available water (which excludes rain fed agriculture!) Food because so darned complex. Diet (caloric intake, meat/grain, type of meat), crops, regional variation in crops (see maise in Wisconsin/Kenya, rice comments just below ro Mark). A hard, tedious, but rewarding data slog in the end. Not a beach read, and not Ehrlich alarmism.

    • Excellent comments from 2 heartland farmers.
      Much appreciated by an old Wisconsin farm boy, now located in the Great North Wet!
      Thanks Rud! Thanks Mark!

  25. There is no link so one cannot be sure of what models they used , but it is reminiscent of the study, commented on here a few days ago, that claimed that the Great Plains would become drought ridden through climate change .
    In that earlier work the authors were using the most extreme RCP models for future temperature rises to calculate increased evaporation rates from soil, with cold season precipitation unable to compensate . However the more extreme RCP models are already being seen as diverging from reality , thanks to the pause , and the less extreme model was not used in that study as far as I could ascertain.
    Have the authors of this latest work done the same thing and used forecast temperature rises which do not, at present, look realistic . I thought that current grain and soybean yields were at record levels , courtesy of mild temperature increase perhaps and increased CO2 levels. ,
    I know less about finance than I do about climatology , but a thought occurred to me : given that it was funded by wheat growing organisations it couldn’t be an attempt to manipulate the futures market in grain could it?

      • I’m not sure that follows, since many grain crop subsidies are in the form of modest payments to hold land out of production, do nothing, get paid, the American slackers dream

      • Manipulate the futures market? Nope, won’t work
        Appeal for greater subsidies? Nope, won’t work
        Get federal funding to study an existential crisis and propose desired solutions? Yep, it’ll work

    • Increased forcing of the climate is associated with increased positive NAO/AO and a cooler AMO, which means wetter for the Great Plains.

  26. “The projected effect of climate change on wheat is more than what has been forecast.”
    I love it. Where in here is any connection with reality? The computer model projections are greater than the other computer model forecasts? What, if anything, is going on in the real world?
    Wait, oh, crops are doing just fine and, short of biofuels destroying perfectly good food and killing people as part of a political agenda, we are doing just fine.

  27. “Extreme temperature doesn’t only mean heat; it also means cold,” Prasad said. So the hotcold means It’s Even Worse Than We Thought (TM)
    “Simply looking at the average temperature doesn’t really show us anything …” Ya don’t say

  28. ‘“It’s like having one minute to fill a tall glass with water. …but now we only have 40 seconds to do it and the faucet is running slower.”’
    As a testimony to the brilliance of that analogy I decided to test it out. And, no Prasad, I didn’t use a computer model to validate it. I conducted a real world test; seriously. I turned my kitchen faucet on, but only about 1/4. So that’s much “slower” than I’d normally run it. Then I got a timer and a 16 oz. glass. Immediately uponst (I made that word up) placing the glass under the faucet I hit the timer. Sorry to bust your bubble Prasad, but it only took 3 seconds to fill it.
    So, that means if we only have 40 seconds to now fill a glass we can still fill 13 of them. May I suggest that this means your analogy is probably as accurate as your computer models are. May I suggest we take a walk in the real world instead of La La Land (otherwise known as Universities and models).

  29. The thing that struck me is they looked at areas with a temperature of 15 to 32 degrees Celsius. The temperature in southern Alberta can very from a wet rainy 5 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius at any time in the growing season and yet the farmers seem to have no problem with the wheat production around here.

    • You also missed what followed…”the Director of the USAID Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab…”.
      WTF? I read that and thought, does that even fit on a business card? However, it does sort of roll of the tongue. He must be a hoot at conferences with a job title like that!

  30. I’m now at the point that I’m questioning how in heck humanity made it to modern times without all the science and government help. How did we make it out of caves without people in lab coats telling us it was safe to come out? How did plants and animals adapt without the Wizards of Odds telling us what to do and when?
    Are we sure humans evolved and weren’t created in a petri dish a couple of decades ago?

  31. This is the type of thing that should raise eyebrows of those still on the fence, as well as the diehard believers of the C in cagw. The actual work we have on extreme weather indicates anything from more mild weather to slightly less but slightly stronger storms. If there is anything worse then this in the published work I haven’t found it.
    “found wheat yields are projected to decrease by 6 percent for each degree Celsius the temperature rises if no measures to adapt to extreme weather fluctuations are taken.”
    Wait extreme weather or warmth? anyway, we have this tool called breeding, and we do it for a wide range of conditions. Even several degrees warmer and wheat (a grass) can still thrive. We have bred our most productive lines for specific regions, but it wouldnt take much to move their ranges, like AT ALL. We might find the most productive lines prefer certain areas, but we literally have NO data whatsoever in depth enough to truly tell us the full range of places we might be able to use our continually improving most productive lines. Last and most obvious point here, is we absolutely WILL continue breeding plants, and trying to spread their ranges. so a study base don having done nothing? well its basically meaningless. We absolutely will, with zero reason in the world to think we would have trouble moving the range of the best lines a bit, if that is even needed.
    “Researchers found that the effects from climate change and its increasing temperatures on wheat will be more severe than once projected and are happening sooner than expected.”
    Which earths data are they looking at? On this earth industrial ag continues to rise in yield, organic ag in the first world, and also methods used by the third world continue to improve. So what data is this based on?
    “Plants can handle gradual changes because they have time to adapt, but an extreme heat wave or cold snap can kill a plant because that adjustment period is often nonexistent.”
    If they were talking about corn this would make sense. With wheat we have varieties with spring or winter growth habits, but we also have some that can grow in spring but can handle winters. My own springs and falls, I have a freeze and thaw literally nearly daily, for several weeks at each end, my winter habit wheats don’t care, they are a grass, they inf act start growing in this period. We ALWAYS had wheat genetics capable of very fast and extreme changes though, just not during the short, and continually shrinking period the seeds form. Yep we are breeding that period to be shorter. All indication suggests we should expect more stable not less stable yields in future years, with a warmer or colder world in fact.
    To re cap, we have genetics in our wheats more then capable of handling very extreme changes, they literally already do and always have. It is only the short period this grass is making seeds there is a potential issue, and this window is getting smaller as we breed for plants that finish their seeds faster.
    I know all this as a back yard plant breeder who grows a bunch of wheat. All basic basic stuff. This should be raising eyebrows of the diehards. Its absolutely 100% smoke and mirrors.
    They might as well say, “If humans stop the advancements in this field, and ignore most of the data on overall trends (and presumably) focus on some place the trend was down we might loose as much as 30% of our yields!!! (ignoring the fact we literally have full reason to think yields will continue to rise and in fact become more stable- I might also point out some of the work in the third world with low input models is starting ever so slowly to make huge headway- we might be about to see a second smaller third world low expensive input green revolution of sorts as well)
    This piece was propaganda plain and simple.

  32. There’s been discussion in WUWT of late of researchers looking to publicise/hype their findings etc.
    I think the sad truth is that it is impossible, if you need more research work, to investigate a potential issue and report ” after detailed analysis by experts we conclude that we don’t see any problems in the foreseeable future”.

  33. BTW, living in Wheat country for decades and having more than a casual interest in Ag business, I can say that the top chart of Wheat yields is about right. Agricultural yields in general have been increasing for many decades. Ask anyone in the Ag business & they will universally say that they foresee no real threat to better yielding crops far into the future. Crop producers have always been fully aware of climatic conditions affecting their lives and business.
    I don’t know Prof. Prasad but I’d speculate that his work is not typical of what occurs in any Ag related department within Kansas State University. Maybe new grant money showed up.

    • Corn, yes. Soy, yes. Rice, no except for spread of IR8 semi dwarf strains and best practice herbicides and and golden rice for nutritional sufficiency). Wheat, was true until one-two decades ago. Then yield slowed down/ stopped in best practice areas. Still increasing elsewhere as best practices spead. I graphed all the data from USDA and FAOSTAT, and in come cases also other country national data like for India pulses and potatos. Only quesrionis how reliable FAOSTAT is.
      The question is not whether yields will increase. Most will, at different rates. Maize almost certainly 35-40% by 2050. Rice could be 50% by then, but probably less. Soy and wheat, not nearly so much. Barley, oats, alfalfa,potatoes, pulses, sorghum, millet, taro, cassava, ground nuts, fruits, vegetables, cotton (because an alternate use of arable land) and on and on. All assuming best practices and ignoring any hypothetical negatives from climate change as in this suspect paper (a generally safe assumption). The interesting question is whether amd for how long those increases provide an adequate diet for projected population growth given constraints on additional arable land, and constraints on irrigation placed by available water. The broad answer after slogging through a mountain of complex details is they suffice until about 2050 at a population of about 9.2 billion. But not for much longer, and not for a much greater population. This is not a question of further innovation. That is assumed (and also no backsliding). It is a problem of the low hanging fruit already having been picked, and diminishing marginal returns.

      • I work in alternative ag. We have answers now for all this, let alone other advances. Just have to think outside the box, as some of us are doing and more joining all the time. The answer? treecrops, especially for marginal areas we cannot grow the traditional crops. We use a large portion we grow for animals, and there are several things from trees they eat as readily. Trees can far surpass the yields of corn or soy used for this now, and meet all the same needs, in a more stable, lower input model that can even work where current crops do not. In fact here in the high desert where we run cattle, such a system could slowly improve on itself as fertility is built benefitting the free range cattle while we grow the feed for the industrial ones. Other crops this can be done as well, but feeding animals like this is the most likely to build a market soon.
        when you look at the numbers this by itself could more then answer our issues. As could better management of food that IS grown.

      • It will be a few years before I could try to build such a market myself, but I am growing a range of trees on lands considered non arable, without irrigation, that a mix of the harvests is more then adequate and desirable to feed animals. I am working with and intending to work with various fruits, nuts and berries for humans as well, but I see greater potentials in feeding animals this way. Or atleast a shorter path to make it work well here reliably. Alot of wilder stuff thats great for animals is more reliable with my late frosts then the more traditional fruits and nuts. A group with better funding could do all this rather quick.

      • Concur completely. Extrapolating the yield trends for Corn, Soybeans and Wheat to 2050 was what I considered a good bet, at least in the USA/Canada. Predictions are not guaranteed, especially about the future. As far as diminishing marginal returns, true also. But I remember 1960s ag technology. Compared to then, 2015 looks almost miraculous.
        Also I noticed a good fit may result if one plotted atmospheric CO2 concentration on top of the Corn yield.

  34. It’s not only heat it’s cold. It’s not just less rain it’s too much it’s not just stagnant air it’s sharknadoes. It’s not just the daylight it’s the darkness. More grant money. Wheat grows best in subsidized fields sowed with grant money.

  35. What’s all this fuss I hear about fighting climbing chains? Who ever heard of such a stupid thing? Why have you ever tried to go up a snowy mountain without climbing chains? It’s a sure way to have an accident or get stuck and freeze to death. With children in the car. And the children, they love going up the mountains in the snow to ski and have fun. What about the children? Why, if we didn’t have climbing chains all those kids would just be stuck freezing on the road or down over the side sliding and crashing and crying because their parents couldn’t use climbing chains. And another thing……..
    What? What? It’s “climate change?”
    Oh. Nevermind!
    [We still miss you Gilda]

  36. The report misses at least two things:
    1). If the problem gets serious, new hybrid will be developed that can stand the heat (if it happens).
    2). One serious long-range forecasting group reports that because of global urbanization and industrialization, global population will DECLINE which, if it happens, could offset wheat production losses and be a self-mitigating factor in climate change as carbon production would then decrease too:
    https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/population-decline-and-great-economic-reversal?mc_cid=a0f058f040&mc_eid=3ce703ee15

    • Global population will peak during the next 30 years, before it begins to rapidly decline. Yes, populations continue to grow; but, the global median age is now 30 years, where it was 21 in 1960. In Europe and North America the median age went from 24 in 1970 to 37.8 (the US) and 42.5 (Europe). In Japan, Italy and parts of the old USSR, the populations are already contracting.
      What I see on a global level, is steadily falling prices. At some point in time less acreage will be farmed as crop yields increase and population growth slows and then falls. Eventually, less food will be grown for the simple fact that older populations eat less, and smaller populations will demand less wheat, rice, meat and fruit, etc…
      I get what you’re saying. But, I think we should call these people out. They’re not scientists but political activists dressed up in lab coats.

  37. Processing tomato yields in California have been increasing at about 2.5% a year for over fifty years now. This should meet the world population growth, but not the increase in world per capita consumption. Countries like the US and Australia obtain much greater yields than the rest of the world due to technological advancements. When others catch up, we should be able to feed a growing population.
    Researchers are looking at mitochondria now, which are the small filaments that attach to the roots under the ground. They provide a greater uptake of water and nutrients from the soil. Researchers are expecting enormous increases in yields when they are optimised. We know now that poor soil biology produces poor yields.
    Some of the enzyme manufacturers like Novo are exploring incorporating the mitochondria on to the seeds before they are sold. Maybe Rud there will be another green revolution.
    There is no reason, except cost, why row crops can’t be grown in high-rise hot houses in the future, collecting all the transpired water and reusing it. LED lights with the specific wavelengths for each plant would save on electricity, and pesticides would not be required in a closed environment. Two or three crops could be grown each year. The processing plant or packaging line could be nearby, saving on transport, and the waste heat from the factory could be used to warm the greenhouse.
    [But you can’t do that. It will require oil to make the plastic and glass hot houses. .mod]

    • Mycorrhiza are the small filaments at the root-soil interface. Mitochondria are structures found inside cells that process energy. Also see “root nodules” to get started. And yes, understanding the Rhizosphere will be an increasingly important part of understanding how plants grow in soil for future generations.

  38. wheat yields are projected to decrease by 6 percent for each degree Celsius the temperature rises if no measures to adapt to extreme weather fluctuations are taken. Based on the 2012-2013 wheat harvest of 701 million tons worldwide, the resulting temperature increase would result in 42 million tons less produced wheat — or a loss of nearly one-quarter of the current wheat production.
    OK, I think I figured out their funky math. Obviously 42 is not 25% of 701. So I am guessing that they very poorly worded something, and by doing so, covered up the fact that their own report is less than concerning.
    6% of 701 is 42.06! So the 42 number is not meant to be 25% of 701, the 42 number is the supposed decline in production per degree. If we had a temperature increase of just over 4 degrees, then that would give you a production decline of 25%.
    Now here is why I think they worded it that way. Let’s assume a climate sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling of CO2. I could easily make the case that 3 is over the top high, but let’s use it anyway to demonstrate how silly this result is.
    We are currently at about 400 ppm of CO2, so doubling is 800 ppm. We’re currently seeing an increase in CO2 on the order of 2 ppm per year. So, assuming nothing changes (hey, they assume no changes in crop variety, location or farming techniques, so my assumption is just as reasonable as theirs) it will be 200 years for just 3 degrees of temperature change and a decline of 18%. I’m too tired and a smidge inebriated to boot, so I’ll not do the log math to figure out how many years to 25%. A lot more than 200 is the point.
    So their contention is that over the next 200 years, we will be unable to develop new crop strains, take advantage of newly arable land, irrigate deserts, develop new agricultural techniques, build greenhouse complexes, or a host of other tactics to make up for a mere 18% decline in production. That additional CO2 won’t increase crop production on arable land like it does in greenhouses. 200 YEARS to make up 18%? We’ve tripled crop production in the last 60!
    They expressed the numbers the way they did to make it seem like the problem they were identifying was immediate. Their own numbers show that it is NOT immediate, and the notion that the problem exists at all is just as unreasonable.

  39. December 12, 2012
    Science Daily
    Climate modelers predict warmer, wetter Northeast U.S. winters by 2070
    February 20, 2015
    BBC
    “Record-breaking cold descends on eastern US”
    CNN
    “Bitter, deadly cold grips eastern United States”

  40. What does the phrase “climate change” actually mean? Is someone implying there was a time when climate was steady state and did not change?

  41. When a report is issued by an organization with the name “USAID Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab” I don’t think anything more needs to be said.
    The agenda is there for all to see.
    Meanwhile in the real world unencumbered by dogma Kansas farmers are growing bumper crops. Alternate uses for the moribund campus at Kansas State seem to be a matter requiring urgent research, a new feed lot perhaps.

  42. According to the lead author of this study, “average” temperatures do not matter; but, the “extreme” temperatures do. I will grant him that outliers (that is, individual weather events and not statistical constructs used by Climatologists) can be devastating. But, he offers up a logical fallacy. Or better put, a strawman. For Climate Models do not forecast individual weather events (i.e. a late spring freeze or a massive hail storm). Ergo, there is no way his “models” can predict “extreme weather” either in the short or the long term. In other words, the man is fibbing – big time.

  43. “For the study, researchers systematically tested 30 wheat crop models against field experiments from around the world that were conducted in areas where the average temperature of the growing season ranged from 15 to 32 degrees Celsius. The models accounted for planting dates, planting rates, temperatures and other crop management factors”
    With the right assumptions, you can get your models to show anything.
    I’ve been predicting and following global crop yields based on the effects of weather and other elements for 23 years. In the real world, the last 3 decades have featured the best weather and climate for most crops and life on this planet since the Medieval Warm period.
    Any slight warming and beneficial atmospheric fertilization from increasing CO2 has me increasing my yield expectations………..but I will wait and see, taking it one growing season at a time.
    This particular study, if used in the real world for commercial buying/selling or hedging or even speculative interests positioning longer term for wheat production and resulting prices………….would cause the user to go broke.

    • That goes for any farmers/producers that are regulars here, who often get overly bullish on prices and often have a cognitive bias from the business they are in(like all of us) that results in believing news that suggests higher prices and discarding information that suggests otherwise.
      Increasing CO2 is entirely bearish longer term for crop prices as it increasing production.
      However, there are far more important short term factors that matter more than the slow, positive annual contribution that CO2 makes.

  44. Dr. Prasad’s focus on temperature or “climate extremes” is probably another case of misdirection.
    The problems in Kansas, and in his (apparently) native India, are related to water. Temperature changes will likely mean little to productivity in the northern hemisphere (even in India) provided there are sufficient supplies of water. The real problem is the draw-down in the aquifer which is crucial for the irrigation of much of the farmland in eight states. Manhattan sits outside the high plains aquifer, but the western half of Kansas derives much of it’s crop irrigation directly from the Ogallala.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer#mediaviewer/File:Ogallala_changes_1980-1995.svg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer#mediaviewer/File:Crops_Kansas_AST_20010624.jpg
    As always, when CAGW is invoked, the claim of damage, injury or deaths may have substance. At the present recharge rates of the aquifer, which are much slower than the usage rates, there may be problems with this type of irrigation, and this could spell trouble for a lot of farms in western Kansas. But the problem has more to do with usage than with climate.

  45. Makes no difference to me. I’ve stopped eating wheat, and lost 44 lbs in 5 months and have never felt better. According to Drs. Davis and Perlmutter modern grain is poison and causes diabetes, obesity and dementia. Feed grass to cows and eat the cows

  46. One of prasad’s conclusions should have been to eliminate grains for ethanol production. That mandate has taken more food off the table than any climate change effect ever would. It would also reduce the cost of fuel due to the RIN tax refiners have to pay to operate.

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