Aussie CSIRO Predicts the End of Wheat Yield Gains

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to the Australian CSIRO, “The lines will cross” in 20 years, heralding the end of biotechnology’s ability to improve wheat yields.

Climate change to blame for flatlining wheat yield gains: CSIRO

By Anna Vidot

Updated Thu at 11:59am

Australia’s wheat productivity has flatlined as a direct result of climate change, according to CSIRO research.

While 2016 set a new national wheat harvest record, the national science organisation’s findings indicate that result masks a more troubling long-term trend.

While Australian wheat yields tripled between 1900 and 1990, growth stagnated over the following 25 years.

Zvi Hochman, a senior research scientist with CSIRO Agriculture and Food said the team considered whether other factors could have shared the blame, such as investment in research and development (R&D), changing patterns of land use, and soil fertility.

But those could all be ruled out: investment in grains R&D was stable, changing land-use patterns should have favoured wheat production, and soil management improved as farmers adopted new techniques such as zero-till.

“Climate variability can make it look as if there is no trend, just one year’s good and one year’s bad, but we’ve statistically analysed the trend that we observed,” Dr Hochman said.

“The chance of that just being variable climate without the underlying factor [of climate change] is less than one in 100 billion.”

“If we assume the same trend continues, then there’s a point at which the two lines cross each other – in about 20 years’ time – and by then we will start to see declining yields.

Read more:

The biggest problem with the climate argument is Australia is not currently taking best advantage of available technology. While much of the rest of the world has embraced genetic modification to improve yields and resistance to pests, and reduce pesticide use, scare campaigns have kept Australia largely GM free, with the exception of small scale GM cotton and canola crops.

Investment in crop technology might be holding steady, but rejecting GM as an option effectively sabotages much of the value of that investment.

Consider the following study in PLOS One, about the benefits of GM;


On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%. Yield gains and pesticide reductions are larger for insect-resistant crops than for herbicide-tolerant crops. Yield and profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries.

Read more:

It is conceivable that Australia might maintain its politically motivated opposition to modern biotech for the next 20 years, in which yield gains might stagnate. But blaming any stagnation on climate is ridiculous. Embracing GM would provide an immediate realisable yield improvement of up to 22%, followed by whatever gains the next 20 years of GM research delivers.

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March 11, 2017 7:41 am

oh nooooo….it’s peak wheat

Reply to  Latitude
March 11, 2017 1:07 pm

There is currently a scheme to bring in 20,000 GL (40 Sydney Harbours) per year of irrigation water from New Guinea. Government help, (that’s what western government should do but does not), zero. Australia has vast areas of suitable land but no water. It could easily feed another 1 Billion people.

Meanwhile government has spent US$50 Billion on desalination, green dongles, water saving schemes etc. All have produced nothing other than enriching spivs and allowed liberal thinking market distortions that now even threaten the eastern seaboard’s electrical grid.

Meanwhile idiots think batteries may save South Australia from stupidity. The driest state in the driest continent blew up a coal fired power station and now finds itself short of power. This has attracted rent seekers.

As CO2 levels increase the food supply will also increase. Thankfully this is not controlled by the government. Their attempts at regulating CO2 production have failed. Government should just get back to what they are good at, staring at their navels, stealing by force, destroying wealth and creating wars.

Reply to  Geoff
March 11, 2017 1:12 pm

It’s way too late to save South Australia from stupidity. They are well past the “tipping point” on stupidity.
Instead of Tesla batteries, they could opt for batteries from Aquion.
The CO2 horsesh*t has to stop.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Geoff
March 11, 2017 10:46 pm

We cab dn that in Australia with a river in WA I think it is…build a pipe where water is and transport it to where people live and where stuff is grown (It is exactly what China is doing tho I cannot find a reference). Or move everything where there is more water. In Australia? Too funny! Our pollies still bleat on about high speed rail, seriously? In Aus, given the geography, we have the best solution already in place, high speed airplanes. It may take more time than a theoretical fast train, but the infrastructure required is vastly reduced with aircraft. AND, it is already in place!

Reply to  Geoff
March 11, 2017 11:33 pm

Australia has a series of large northern rivers. One river, the Ord, is partially developed. It could double food production with a bit of investment. All need big dams. Australia has the ability to dramatically increase food production by building dams and irrigating in the north.
However, there is no support. I doubt the CSIRO even know about it.
Limits to food production, like power supply, are political.

Reply to  Geoff
March 11, 2017 11:35 pm

Geoff its called lake argyle, the Rudd government commissioned a report into turning the top end into a food basket the reports finding was they should kick all the cows off the land and get big fat and rich on selling carbon credits.

The plan flopped due to green mutters just like our power network will come march 31

Les Francis
Reply to  Geoff
March 11, 2017 11:49 pm

Why don’t they just bring that 20,000GL from the Clarence. Rather nearer than New Guinea.
Ooops I forgot.
Those local vested interests wouldn’t allow it now …..would they.
Plenty of other sources around.

The problem is not lack of water in the eastern side of Australia. It’s how it’s managed and the political and Green grandstanding.
Dick Smith and others have the right idea. How about covering all those open irrigation ditches. How many GL’s would that save for relatively small money compared to fairy projects bringing water from overseas countries.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Geoff
March 12, 2017 12:22 am

“Peter March 11, 2017 at 11:33 pm

Australia has a series of large northern rivers. One river, the Ord…”

Yes, thank you Peter, the river Ord. That’s the one that can irrigate, even power, Australia!

Reply to  Geoff
March 12, 2017 7:07 am

Nuclear power, the most promising being LFTR, liquid fluoride thorium reactor, would power the desalinization, provide cheap power for all, and irrigation can expand apace. Importing water just seems a waste when you are surrounded by (salt) water and piles of thorium just waiting to be burned.

Reply to  Geoff
March 12, 2017 10:17 am

Wait a second…how is this water from New Guinea to be transported?
Will it be by ship?
Or a pipeline under the sea?
In the case of shipping in water for agricultural usage, I would really and truly like to see the numbers on that.
It sounds ludicrous.
And if by pipeline, it is an interesting idea, but what about tectonic movements and earthquakes and such?
I think this may be the first I have heard of a serious proposal to bring water across a sea since one of the Middle East oil countries was going to drag icebergs by ship from Antarctica to their country for water.
Then I think someone must have ran the numbers on rate of melt and energy cost and such…and that was the last we heard of that.
As for long distance high speed rail in a sparsely inhabited place…i think someone calculated that for what California has already spent on their rail system, the government could have bought a plane ticket for anyone who wanted to traverse this route for the next hundred years or something like that…first class!

There are parts of Australia that get an awful lot of rain every year:

Reply to  Latitude
March 11, 2017 1:54 pm

On March 8, 2017, Aquion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Having a good product does not make a success. The issue is the price. Unless you can sell to an end user a 10 KWhr battery for US$2-3,000 its cheaper to be on the grid. This means new technology is required using carbon/graphene based batteries/supercaps. The price and availability of graphene oxide is the key to success. It will be inexpensive but is not yet. Ultimately this will allow the invention of 10 GWhr scale units for power stations and supercaps that replace transformers.

Reply to  Geoff
March 11, 2017 2:29 pm

Just because Aquion has filed for bankruptcy protection, it need not mean the end of its real life.

A new owner may aquire the assets and technology, albeit at a bargain price, (which will not help the taxpayer of course), and be able to produce a marketable product without the burden of debt which has forced Aquion into its current state.

This is how business works.

An example may be a large high rise building which cannot lease its rooms/apartments or floors at a price that will enable the owner to make a return on his investment. Possibly through bankruptcy processes or by a voluntary liquidation by the owner, the building would basically be sold to the highest bidder.
The highest bidder will also try to gain income from his new asset by renting the facilities, if this fails the process above may be repeated until finally the cost to the new owner is low enough for the new owner to actually make a return on his investment and at last the building becomes a real asset.

But of course you know all this.



Reply to  Geoff
March 11, 2017 2:57 pm

The main issue for anything renewable on a 5MW and up scale is the load. You cannot run anything big that spins without a load. Such loads are now supplied by capacitors, resistors that heat something and diesel gennys with no fuel etc. A supercap/battery will not need an expensive load. This will be very useful for hydro based generators and wind turbines that are always difficult to synch to the grid. When you know your battery can take a 500 degree hit and not be damaged safety is ok.

Reply to  Geoff
March 13, 2017 6:53 am

How do you limit the in-rush of current when charging the caps from near empty?
Is there a switching network that only charges a few of the caps at a time?

Reply to  Latitude
March 11, 2017 3:07 pm

Aquion will rise again. The new owner may be able to get the price down as they may not be burdened by the startup capex. This assumes they know how to run a business and can negotiate with the lenders and shareholders.

Of course if the South Australian premier had any neurons SA would just buy the company. Alas politicians are nearly always out of batteries ie brain dead.

David A Smith
Reply to  Latitude
March 13, 2017 4:43 am

Can’t wait for peak scare mongering.

March 11, 2017 7:45 am

For various practical reasons, there has been very little genetic engineering of wheat (or other similar grasses like barley) anywhere, not just Australia.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 11, 2017 10:27 am

It is conceivable that Australia might maintain its politically motivated opposition

Whether you decide to accept playing the sorcerers apprentice and irrevocably polluting the natural environment with genetically manipulated varieties or decide not to take that risk, either way it will be a “politically motivated” decision: it is a political choice.

Reply to  Greg
March 11, 2017 10:31 am

The comment about “polluting the environment” with GMO’s is tendentious. Labeling anything “pollution” is often pure value judgement, and not a real argument. Perhaps the anti-GMO’s could use a term like “ritually unclean”?

Reply to  Greg
March 11, 2017 2:11 pm

If humans have played any part in breeding a variety of plant [or animal], regardless of whether that is sometimes used for food [for humans, or our food animals, or as manure . . . . ], could that organism be considered genetically modified?
My take [no, I am not a geneticist, I’m a seaman] is that, “Yes” – it should, if it differs in anyway outside the ‘natural’ variation we can find in the ‘wild’.
I guess the wild in many habitats has been modified by humans over the last plenty thousands of years, too.
My take.
You are welcome to disagree – but please say why you disagree.

Which is not to say GMOs must be allowed to run riot.
Trials are needed – but there needs, I think, to be a presumption of acceptance, unless the trials show potentially serious side-effects.

We have about 7,500,000,000 people to feed.
See –



Wayne Delbeke
Reply to  Greg
March 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Y’all know that “we” innoculate seeds/roots of plants to encourage mutations and then do “selection” and grow new varieties. It isn’t direct gene modification but we have been “selecting” for characteristics for thousands of years. Where did all the different breeds of dogs come from? Should all these genetically modified beasts be culled?

Tim Hammond
Reply to  Greg
March 12, 2017 1:56 am

So naturally occurring mutations are also pollution?

Reply to  Greg
March 13, 2017 6:55 am

Only man is capable of polluting. If it’s natural, then by definition it’s harmless [/sarc]

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 11, 2017 12:37 pm

Yes, practically greenpeace opposes it so the CSIRO backed off.
Greenpeace are anti scientific, actually destroying properly conducted field trials to improve glycaemic index and potentially protein yields of Aussi wheat varieties.
Various Ag departments in the Uni’s and the CSIRO have produced rust resistant and shatter proof wheat as well as improving the protein yield.
As a result our wheat is saleable to third world countries with major protein deficient diets.
The health benefits to women of child bearing age and their children are a credit to our nation.

Tom Harley
Reply to  lewispbuckingham
March 11, 2017 4:02 pm

Much of the research being carried out in Australia now is done by private companies. Kalyx has a number of scientists and technicians based in most states that do very well in plant breeding, especially in wheat breeding. So successful, it’s founder was able to retire and move on, to start other businesses in rural research in finding improvements in irrigated pastures. This research used to be CSIRO’s business, until they found the global warming gravy train.
Nothing stays the same.

Reply to  lewispbuckingham
March 12, 2017 11:52 am

Thanks Tom.
One of the arguments against GM wheat is the fact that the seed wheat would have to be purchased annually from the supplier, which holds the patent.
Were the CSIRO to gene splice and trial wheat varieties for Australian conditions and farmers,It could provide them with wheat seed free of patent restrictions.
The Federal Government spent a year talking about an Innovative Australia.
The CSIRO would do well to be tasked with this mission, especially if their scientists think that climate change will destroy our cropping rates.

Reply to  lewispbuckingham
March 13, 2017 6:56 am

“shatter proof wheat”
I would appreciate hearing more on that.

Reply to  lewispbuckingham
March 17, 2017 11:09 pm

Mark W
Its not enough to have wheat fields with ripe wheat waving in the wind, one has to harvest the wheat.
If the head of wheat is blown by wind or just touched, the grains can break off and fall to the ground, thus they are lost to reaping.
Once they are hit by the blade of a combine harvester the shattering effect will be worse.
So the aim is to make the wheat not shatter so it may be harvested.
This is a genetic characteristic and was discovered early in the history of cultivation.

Alfred (Melbourne)
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 11, 2017 3:51 pm


It is a pity so few people understand that the genome of wheat is vastly more complicated that that of corn so thank you for pointing that out.

The idea that GM and its ally Glyophosate are harmless has been amply disproven.

“The GM maize rats”

BTW, in the USA farmers put Glyophosate on wheat just before harvesting – nothing to do with killing weeds – as it is a desiccant.

“The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic (it’s not the gluten)”

Reply to  Alfred (Melbourne)
March 11, 2017 4:09 pm

You seem to have misunderstood me. Maize in the US is mostly hybrid, because corn has separate male and female “flowers”, and wheat does not, and is more difficult mechanically to hybridize. As hybrid corn outperforms open bred, the growers already routinely buy seed, therefore GMO seed is a relatively easy commercial proposition.
The benefits, or drawbacks, of GMO breeding is often conflated with organic farming and anti-corporate politics. As a casual observer, no -till seems to be a beneficial practice, and it is only practical with weedkiller tolerant crops, BT is used in “organic farming”, and there are other possible benefits not yet on the market.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Alfred (Melbourne)
March 11, 2017 6:00 pm

The pity is that so few people understand that toxicity and carcinogenicity are related to dosage, route of exposure, etc.

The second link is a joke, right? Almost no data or science to it at all. Just Sarah with some quotes off the internet and her own anecdotal reasoning. It completely ignores the fact that people with celiac disease don’t suffer when they avoid gluten.

Tim Hammond
Reply to  Alfred (Melbourne)
March 12, 2017 6:53 am

Just about every government agency round the globe says glyophosate is not harmful, including the EU’s.

Even the WHO had to issue a statement about its own agency’s misleading statement about the stuff.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Alfred (Melbourne)
March 12, 2017 7:55 am

I highly doubt this contention. Why add an expensive drying agent to get a few more kernels when the Sun does it for free? This practice may work in marginal wheat growing zones but trust me, the cost of a chemical drying agent, regardless of how it works, would have to be carefully considered on a year by year basis, given that profit margins for growing any commercial food product is paper thin for farmers. This part of the US I grew up in has some of the world’s finest winter red anywhere. The Sun does the job very well. My hunch is that Sarah doesn’t know sh** from Sherlock and has never walked through fields of Spring or Winter wheat to test for moisture and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between these two major wheat groups if she did.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Alfred (Melbourne)
March 12, 2017 8:56 am

Alfred, I know of no one around me in central IL who wastes Glyphosate pushing a wheat harvest. I can’t speak for the area where the bulk of the crop is grown as it may be response to weed pressure and timing the next planting. I think you might edify your “view from afar” by reading the following:
I promise not to make blanket assumptions about Oz farming practices from what the MSM tells me.

Rich Lambert
Reply to  Alfred (Melbourne)
March 12, 2017 9:30 am

I’m from wheat country in the US and I’ve never seen glyphosate used as a desiccant. In fact I’ve never seen it used on wheat. Soybeans and corn, yes.

Reply to  Rich Lambert
March 12, 2017 9:36 am

I am looking for a weather station in your area with rainfall data going back to 1927. Any help will be appreciated

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 12, 2017 3:56 am

thank you;-)
and the GM wheat in usa was halted
the crop was supposed to be destroyed
however its shown up in shipments to EU and elsewhere and caused huge loss of trust.
this yr aus had good wheat crops though a lot switched to lentils for higher prices
the grain handlers are looking to huge profits while they pay the growers a lot less”due to a glut”
same old story..never the producer getting the hard earnt profit.
and the canola grown in aus earns up to 50$ a tonne less and has caused a huge cost to the NON gmo growers in extra handling n testing fees imposed BY the OS silo interests that moved in real fast and are owned by conglomerate canadian /usa gmo seed companies
clearfield is not sold as gmo but is, just done differently than splicing.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 12, 2017 10:21 am

And do we really need more wheat, or are corn or soybeans better crops in today’s world?

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Menicholas
March 12, 2017 12:57 pm

Not every plant grows in all places. Most wheat is grown in landscapes where corn and soybeans cannot usually be grown. Thus the machinery in a region is mostly of a type not used on some other crop. Therefore, Sunflowers and Grain Sorghum (Milo) seem better alternatives in the Wheat regions.

Today’s world needs certain forms of government to be replaced with others — that can and will allow their people to eat properly. Growing food is not the problem.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 12, 2017 10:57 am

Remember the story about “Golden Rice”. It was supposed to be a savior for poor countries and would have helped millions if not hundreds of millions of people. The outcry from the “Greens” was astounding but also the present producers of rice fought against it. The story has disappeared.
I wonder where the push back is in Oz? The benefits from GMO are fabulous and will eventually come if farmers want to stay in business. And if I am correct nature has been genetically modifying our foods forever.

March 11, 2017 7:55 am

“While much of the rest of the world has embraced genetic modification to improve yields and resistance to pests, and reduce pesticide use, scare campaigns have kept Australia largely GM free”

This is rubbish. On a number of levels. Most of the World has not embraced GM – most have not. GM (as it stands) does not reduce pesticde use – it increases it. Most people object to GM due to the patenting issues and the persecution of small scale farmers that grow their own seeds. Just because you’ve been right about climate change does not mean you are right about every other ‘green’ issue. GM has been all about centralising power in a few very large corporations – people are right to reject it as it stands. The technology itself is not wrong – just the way it is currently being used, presented and exploited to transfer ownership of common property to a few exploitative companies. There is a shameful lack of government regulation on behalf of the people that they are supposed to represent, and people are therefore right to be very wary of safety and health regulations around GM – you only have to look at the ‘Bad Science’ around big pharma, and other food, drug and drink regulation to understand the very bad consequences of regulatory capture by large organisations.

Reply to  Jay Willis
March 11, 2017 10:07 am

Sorry, but there’s nothing but innuendo and conspiracy thought in that comment.

Reply to  Jay Willis
March 11, 2017 11:19 am

You seem to be contradicted on several points. And small scale farmers are not the producers of grain to any extent. And it is the job of a patent holding company to exploit their invention. If there are problems with patents (and there are, especailly in medicine) then argue against them rather than concoct some silly “greedy corporation” villain. Get real.

Reply to  arthur4563
March 12, 2017 4:04 am

Jay is very real.and very correct.
small holders in aus growing organic have already copped loss of organic status due to gmo canola ingress onto their land.
the huge increases in glyphosate and other chem to farm the notill pushed BY the warmists and gmo corps is obscene.
it might be ok to patent a hybrid though as it wont breed true thats rather timewasting anyway, youre forced to buy new seed every year.
but to have chem tainted by design crops crosspollinating and then being charged with fees and legal threats when your crop and land get contaminated BY their products?
thats NOT on!
whats worse is the immediate jump to use CRISPR tech to multiple insert/delete genes
and no they NEVER HAVE done human feeding trials
oh except the ones anyone uninformed does to themselves by not ensuring gmo free status for foods.
rising IBS and other issues last 20 yrs?? hmm?
and thats WHY they dont want labelling
they do NOT want people to be able to CHOOSE freely and be informed.

Tim Hammond
Reply to  Jay Willis
March 12, 2017 6:57 am

All utter propaganda. GMs are designed to reduce pesticide use, hence their reduced usage. There is n transfer of common ownership, unless somehow you think a company spending billions on designing and producing something new makes that thing owned by the commons. There is no exploitation since nobody has to use the GM seeds.

And where was all this fuss when agri companies simply bombarded plants with massive doses of radiation to produce random mutations?

Reply to  Tim Hammond
March 13, 2017 3:43 am

Tim Hammond March 12, 2017 at 6:57 am
All utter propaganda. GMs are designed to reduce pesticide use, hence their reduced usage.

Not true, crops are developed with glyophosate resistance so that it can be used on them. This has resulted in a huge growth in the use of glyophosate on crops.

Reply to  Jay Willis
March 13, 2017 7:01 am

Can you list who exactly is persecuting small farmers who grow their own seeds?
Do you mean that the big processors prefer to buy cheaper crops rather than more expensive stuff from the small farmers? If so, you have a weird definition of “persecution”?

Mike McMillan
March 11, 2017 8:01 am

“The chance of that just being variable climate without the underlying factor [of climate change] is less than one in 100 billion.”

Pretty good odds. I’ll bet a penny.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Mike McMillan
March 11, 2017 8:14 am

Me too mike. Those are pretty small odds. I wonder how 1 chance in in 100,000,000,000 relates to anything realistic. I wonder is CSIRO scientists ever heard of Type I and Type II errors?
Finally, it would be great to see their data and calculations resulting in this astounding claim.

Reply to  Leonard Lane
March 11, 2017 1:14 pm

Australia’s CSIRO used to be a fine research institution.
The Green influence has killed that off.

Reply to  Mike McMillan
March 11, 2017 10:30 am

whenever I hear a claim like that, I know I’m being bullshitted.

Reply to  Greg
March 12, 2017 10:34 am


Reply to  Mike McMillan
March 11, 2017 12:19 pm

Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, I Know, I Know!
I’ll bet they found a Wee p value!
Wee p values are always at the bottom of 1:100 Billion claims.

Tim Hammond
Reply to  Mike McMillan
March 12, 2017 6:58 am

If you assume that its caused by invisible alien and that whatever is happening can only be caused by invisible aliens, then the chance that it’s not invisible aliens is also one in 100 billion.

Joel O’Bryan
March 11, 2017 8:12 am

“If we assume the same trend continues, then there’s a point at which the two lines cross each other – in about 20 years’ time – and by then we will start to see declining yields.”

The Big IF.

Their assumption, that a stagnation is due to climate change (higher temps?), is just that. It is an assumption without any questioning, with no mechanistic link other than, “we say it is so.”

But as CO2 continues to climb, the fertilization effect will help yields. And if it warms, then growing seasons lengthen. The hydrologic cycle acceleration may bring increased rainfalls.
Historical evidence points to The Roman Warm Period and the Medeval Warm Period that allowed civilizations around the world to expand due to improved crop productivity.

Just alarmist bull crap.

March 11, 2017 8:19 am

The UK government gave the go ahead for trials of GM wheat to begin in 2017 just a few weeks ago. Supposedly, the GM version has 40% improvement in yield (under glass) and even the Biased Broadcasting Corporation carried the story….with the usual spin from their environmental desk. So, the technology is there…..and I guess the same can be done for barley. GM rice (e.g. Golden Rice with extra Vitamin A) has already been around for a while and other modifications are now being planted commercially – we just need people to stop ranting on about “Frankenfoods” and to realise that more efficient photosynthesis is a good thing, as is reduced amounts of pesticides, fertilizer, etc. In the case of Golden Rice, the extra Vitamin A was intended to address a problem that kills ~ 500,000 children a year but its introduction was fought vociferously by environmental groups. So much for helping people in the developing world – rather reminiscent of Rachel Carson’s endeavours, I’d say!

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing
Reply to  Phil
March 11, 2017 10:02 am

Doesn’t wheat have 6 copies of 7 chromosomes? It is a dicotyledon so it bulks up pretty easily on genetic material. I’d say the evolution of wheat has only just begun. How that happens is up for discussion – genetic modification by ‘conventional’ techniques is still genetic modification.

Just because some companies are miserable doesn’t have any long term effects on civilisation. In 200 years the economy will have completely transformed and who knows, there may not even be patents anymore. The stupidity of opposing golden rice is an example of how lost ‘protest groups’ are.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing
March 11, 2017 10:25 am


Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing
March 12, 2017 10:40 am

“Wheat genetics is more complicated than that of most other domesticated species. Some wheat species are diploid, with two sets of chromosomes, but many are stable polyploids, with four sets of chromosomes (tetraploid) or six (hexaploid).[24]
Einkorn wheat (T. monococcum) is diploid (AA, two complements of seven chromosomes, 2n=14).[1]
Most tetraploid wheats (e.g. emmer and durum wheat) are derived from wild emmer, T. dicoccoides. Wild emmer is itself the result of a hybridization between two diploid wild grasses, T. urartu and a wild goatgrass such as Aegilops searsii or Ae. speltoides. The unknown grass has never been identified among now surviving wild grasses, but the closest living relative is Aegilops speltoides.[citation needed] The hybridization that formed wild emmer (AABB) occurred in the wild, long before domestication,[24] and was driven by natural selection.
Hexaploid wheats evolved in farmers’ fields. Either domesticated emmer or durum wheat hybridized with yet another wild diploid grass (Aegilops tauschii) to make the hexaploid wheats, spelt wheat and bread wheat.[24] These have three sets of paired chromosomes, three times as many as in diploid wheat”

And yes…monocot.

Reply to  Phil
March 12, 2017 4:07 am

the supposed 500mil deaths is like the flu deaths
a claimed but NOT actually supported by facts figure
sounds impressive though.

Tim Hammond
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 12, 2017 7:00 am

So the difference in malaria deaths before and after the DDT ban is not proven?

Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 12, 2017 10:45 am

You think that vitamin A deficiency is some sort of unsubstantiated myth?
Why do you hate children and poor people so badly you would rather see them blind or dead than allow a perfectly suitable solution to be implemented?
You should be ashamed of yourself for spreading such cold hearted lies and misinformation.

March 11, 2017 8:28 am

Absolute bullsh*t yet again from CSIRO. Reducing rates of increased crop yields will be down to the law of diminishing returns. In other words at some point agricultural science will’ve squeezed out as much grain as is humanly possibly to extract from an acre of land. After that it’ll be marginal fluctuations dependent upon a range of factors, weather being only one of many. However what modern agriculture is most unlikely to do is change to a trend of diminishing yields.
It really does stick in the craw when ‘scientists’ (whose ‘predictive’ models have repeatedly failed, remember) mislead to such an egregious extent in order to push their failing ‘climate change’ agenda.

Reply to  CheshireRed
March 11, 2017 8:53 am

That is correct. The big gains in wheat were made by Norman Borlaug. First, dwarfing. Second, rust resistance. After that, cultivar adaptation to local conditions. For example, Afganistan now has about 10 distinct ‘Borlaug’ cultivars. The more recent yield increases are owed to spread of best practices like adequate fertilizer. Same with rice. In best practices Japan and China, no yield increases at present. Elsewhere in Asia, up to a doubling of yields is still possible just by adoption of best practices. Analyzed this for all of the worlds major food crops in ebook Gaia’s Limits.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  CheshireRed
March 11, 2017 11:56 am
John F. Hultquist
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 11, 2017 12:02 pm

I’ll bet Anna Vidot (author of the article) cannot explain what is happening (and a lot is) on this hillside.
I would, but my pizza is ready. You are on your own!

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 11, 2017 5:11 pm

The Walla Walla Yacht Club (WWYC) is next to the grain elevator at Port Kelly thanks to the lake created by McNary Dam. The dry land fields hosts several thousand MWe of wind farms.

There is also a coal plant and nuke plant.

There is also a oil seed crop that can be rotated with winter wheat.

We also harvest ‘road kill’ Walla Walla onions that fall off the trucks. This also wine country.

What the ‘never green’ part of the Evergreen State does not produce a lot of is big goverment.

Steve Adams
March 11, 2017 8:30 am

Green Newspeak rears it’s ugly head. Just exactly how is “variable climate” different from “climate change”?? As I understand it, no one has shown any credible evidence that temperatures or the rate that temperatures are varying/changing is outside the bounds of of the natural variations seen since the glaciers last receded.

James Schrumpf
March 11, 2017 8:36 am

This is the graph of Australian wheat production since 1960:
comment image

I don’t see a downward trend anywhere. Stating that production tripled between 1900 and 1990 but has “stagnated” since then is misleading claptrap. The technology changes in that 90 years dwarf anything in the past 26; it’s like comparing baseball statistics from the 1890s to today’s.

Taylor Ponlman
Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 11, 2017 9:11 am

What I do see in this graph is much lower variability over the past 8 or 9 years, which has to be a good thing vs the wide swings. If you average the yields over that period vs the previous similar duration period, there appears to be a step function in productivity. As usual, for the greens, the glass is half empty.

Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 11, 2017 9:43 am

Great comment.

I have been discounting everything published by the lamestream media for a couple of decades now, once I caught on to the various memes and methods they use to propagate the propaganda. Economists and Professor Thomas DiLorenzo has a great Chapter in his book “Lincoln Unmasked”, a follow up to his best seller “The Real Lincoln” that goes into the debate between historians on Lincoln. He calls those protecting Lincoln’s quite “high” level of persona and legacy, “gatekeepers”. What’s the old saying ” history is written by the winners. We now know, that they often mislead us to conceal the various improprieties that occurred. That chapter to me was one of the most interesting and surely helps one look at the real Lincoln for what he was and not just what we were taught to believe. A must read. Being an economists DiLorenzo focuses a lot on laws and economics that affected that period and occurrences so it very interesting.

Reply to  HSkipRob
March 12, 2017 2:40 pm

Same old rum and slave party line. It was never enough for the south to assassinate Lincoln. They still like to come out and burn his effigy. Watch for the Rum and Slave party’s modern incarnation — the Drugs and Human Trafficking Party. Same people.

Reply to  HSkipRob
March 12, 2017 3:25 pm

HSkipRob says, “Economists and Professor Thomas DiLorenzo has a great Chapter in his book “Lincoln Unmasked”, a follow up to his best seller “The Real Lincoln” that goes into the debate between historians on Lincoln. He calls those protecting Lincoln’s quite “high” level of persona and legacy, “gatekeepers”. ”

As for the economic argument that slavery in the south was just about to vanish because of the industrial advances, this is complete hogwash. After the Civil War, the former slaves were still being arrested and fined (which obviously they could not pay) with the purpose of placing them in debt servitude, under a system of peonage. (There was also peonage resulting from forced borrowing from “the company store.”) This resulted the passage of the following legislation:

The Peonage Abolition Act of 1867 was an Act passed by Congress on March 2, 1867, that abolished peonage in the New Mexico Territory and elsewhere in the United States. Designed to help enforce the Thirteenth Amendment, the act declares that holding any person to service or labor under the peonage system is unlawful and forever prohibited. It defines peonage as the “voluntary or involuntary service or labor of any persons . . . in liquidation of any debt or obligation.” Violations were punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Thanks to the generation that stood up against and righted the wrongs, at profound cost to themselves.

If “history is written by the winners,” read the Thirteenth Amendment and the Peonage Abolition Act. Because that is what the winners wrote. Is there a problem with that?

Reply to  HSkipRob
March 13, 2017 1:04 am

The British Empire abolished slavery 60 years prior without firing a shot. Lincoln’s clumsy and stupid mishandling of it cost over 650,000 American lives, more than that lost by any other US President. And you call him a hero? I have never understood that.

Reply to  HSkipRob
March 13, 2017 7:18 am

The south did not assassinate Lincoln. One man, acting on his own did.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 11, 2017 10:25 am

Recent years have only ‘stagnated’ in the sense that year-to-year volatility of production has reduced.

Robert from oz
Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 11, 2017 8:30 pm

Grain growers won’t plant a crop unless they can be reasonably sure they can make a return on their investment , if they know wheat prices will be down they will look at other crops , some will gamble on wheat and some only know how to do wheat .
They study their weather records BOM predictions and other more reliable long term forecasters .
The CSIRO and other alarmist organisations have been spouting for years that food crops are down by record margins , now they’re just moving the goal posts to a safe distance that no one will remember.
Never seen or heard of or put super phosphate on any crop before harvest .

Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 12, 2017 3:03 am

The whole thing is a shambles.

1. The flat trend was stated in a paper for the period 1990 to 2006, (a low point-see above, before yields picked up again). This was seen as evidence of climate change, just like the reason Australian desalination plants were built, as at the time droughts in the early 2000’s were thought to be the ‘new norm’, before they weren’t.
2. They claimed a downward trend, not on a downward trend, but on a modelled ‘potential yield’ downward trend, which should have meant production went upwards, instead of flat. In other words, the trend should have been up due to climate change, but was flat, so this is seen as a downward trend, or a decline in ‘potential yield’. They call this decline in modeled upward potential yield, in spite of a being a flat, a decline.
3. Soon after 2006, production went up again (see above graph, as it does). But by the time scientists get around to publish the idea that flat means a downward modelled decline fiasco, the trend has changed again (as it does). Like saying sell at $2 2 years ago because things will decline when the price is already $4 now.
4. The modelled decline in potential yield, is further stated that:

“The chance of that just being variable climate without the underlying factor [of climate change] is less than one in 100 billion.”

In other words, the model is based on climate change producing a declining potential yield, and the chances are 1 in 100 billion that this modeled trend is not due to climate change, because that is what I just modelled it as, (in other words, if you model something based on climate change, then there is a 1 in 100 billion chance the model is not based on climate change). Trouble is, the return to a rise in production after 2006 strongly suggests it IS just random variation. So much for the 1 in 100 billion. (Ridiculous statistical probabilities are always a red flag).

Note that both production and annual growth in Australian wheat production show a continuing upward trend (see links below), so the whole reason for the paper in the first place, based on a misinterpreted stall in production during droughts in the early 2000s, is now shown to be false. (But never let a 1 in 100 billion chance go away).

The Iraqi information minister would be very proud of the paper.

Todd "Ike" Kiefer
Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 12, 2017 3:38 pm

@ James S
The graph you show is of total annual production, not productivity (i.e., yield per acre). I suspect that difference is the source of the disagreement. In the USA we have only achieved a factor of 3 improvement in wheat yields per acre since 1940, from 15 to 45 bushel/acre. In that same interval we have improved average corn yields by a factor of 6 from 30 to 180 bu/ac. My guess is that wheat can be pushed to that same gain, but it is slower because of the more complex genetics and less vigorous subsidy regime.

Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 13, 2017 3:48 am

Read the Book ZeKe. Extremely well referenced with the laws and historical evidence. Slavery was around for millenniums. Of course it took many years to eliminate and it’s still not totally eliminated. Some suggest economic slavery is still quite rampant as well. We do have about 100,000,000 million people living at or near the poverty line in the U.S. You can try to argue, what the ex-wigs and Republicans did to our country, but it is quite obvious to anyone with intellectual integrity.

Reply to  HSkipRob
March 13, 2017 8:52 am

HSkipRob March 13, 2017 at 3:48 am
“You can try to argue, what the ex-wigs and Republicans did to our country, but it is quite obvious to anyone with intellectual integrity.”

If you want to be the beacon of intellectual integrity and talk about what is plain and obvious, then answer the question I already raised: is there a problem with the Thirteenth Amendment and the Peonage Aboliition Act?

XII Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

The meaning of these are clear and quite obvious to any one with any intellectual integrity. If you want to repeal them, then come out and say it. See who will join your new Repeal the Thirteenth and Peonage Act Party. That is all this is about, and it is all it was about for the Americans who voted for Lincoln, and for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who volunteered.

Reply to  HSkipRob
March 13, 2017 9:03 am

HSkipRob March 13, 2017 at 3:48 am
“Slavery was around for millenniums. Of course it took many years to eliminate and it’s still not totally eliminated. Some suggest economic slavery is still quite rampant as well.”

That is the whole point HSkipRob. This country is not a caste system. We have equality before the law here. If that is what you want, then have some intellectual integrity and say you want a caste system, with separate laws for separate castes.

And we know that Human Trafficking is a real epidemic right now. It comes with certain other illegal activity, and it also comes with mass migration. Human Trafficking must be found out and prosecuted.

Reply to  Zeke
March 13, 2017 10:35 am

you are OT

Reply to  Zeke
March 13, 2017 2:39 pm

How in the word did you come up with that conclusion from what I wrote. Not even close to what I meant. Also, much of human trafficking is people wanting to migrate but must do it illegally due to the plethora of statist regulations and high costs, but let’s not talk about that.

March 11, 2017 8:46 am

Scientists are just like any other group, in that you have to pump out some news to make it look like you’re actually doing something useful and productive. One of the greatest stories of this, was when the Soviet Union collapsed in the late 1980s. We found out that much of the intelligence that had been coming from our CIA and others opts was erroneous. Our agents had literally been making stuff up to maintain legitimacy and the cold war scam. We can only assume that they never thought they could ever get caught, since unless there had been the collapse, there would never have been a means of verification. So sometimes when the lamesteam media is being given information, it may be untrue, making it even more difficult to discern the truth as a reader. Beware off all press releases. Lol

Reply to  HSkipRob
March 12, 2017 3:17 am

HSkipRob: especially if such press releases are from governments predicting the end of the world/wheat production/ etc etc.

Daniel Mannix
March 11, 2017 8:49 am

Boulder, Colorado recently continued their ban on GMO crops even after it was proven to them by their own researchers that the number of tractor hours and water use per acre could be dramaticly cut by GMO techniques.

Reply to  Daniel Mannix
March 11, 2017 10:10 am

Never let reality stand in the way of a new ban for the “good of the people”.

Reply to  Daniel Mannix
March 12, 2017 4:12 am

id rather do 2 more passes with a disk than pay more than 2x the diesel cost in chemicals thanks

Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 13, 2017 7:21 am

If that is true, then nobody in their right mind would use the stuff and a ban isn’t necessary.
Bans are only necessary to prevent people from doing what they want to do.

Gary Pearse
March 11, 2017 9:00 am

No one has been able to unequivocally show that AGW is actually happening. There is a lot of handwaving and the what-else-could-“it”-be logical fallacy, but the ‘science’ keeps failing against observations and the ‘scientists’ keep altering the observations to deal with troubling stagnancy in temperature response to rising CO2. There is a limit to how much you can continue revising earlier temperatures downwards to keep a rising slope going but the hope must be that soon warming will resume and they can relax.

The anatomy of Climateering is interesting as we go forward. We no longer hear much from the A-list gentlemen of record benders. First, because of the frightful Pause, they marshaled the political science, psychology and social science (the corrupted and broken sciences) minions and apparently the aggies. Now, until recently almost all a man’s dominion, the job has been handed to a growing demographic of new young women graduate students. I’m not sure what to make of this handing over of the torch. Is it also happening with physics, chemistry and math?

March 11, 2017 9:16 am

Dennis Avery pointed out years ago that if the same techniques of increasing yields used to expand corn yields in the US were applied to wheat, yields would increase dramatically.

There is another issue that I am unable to confirm without looking at the original research, but are eerily similar. Back in the early 1980s, similar concerns were expressed about wheat yields in North America. Despite increasing fertilizer use and improved crop varieties from plant breeding, wheat yields that climbed significantly in the 1960s and 1970s began to level off in the early 1980s. I learned about this first hand because I spoke to many of the “Maximum Yield” clubs that formed as world demand from the Soviet Union and China among others expanded significantly. Researchers at that time also blamed climate change, although it was because of the cooling trend from 1940 through to 1980.

It turned out that they neglected to monitor what are collectively called trace elements in the soil, such as copper, manganese, and zinc. They considered them insignicant in the plant growth. Then, someone discovered that without some of these minerals, as I recall in the case of wheat it was primarily zinc, the plant could not could not take up the other significant fertilizers like nitrates and phosphates. Once the zinc was exhausted, the plant yield increase slowed, stopped and the decreased.

The researchers in Australia did consider “soil fertility” but that is a very vague term. What I need to know is precisely how they defined this and all the other variables and what assumptions they made in their research before I can accept their findings.

I have written about this problem of cause and effect in climate impact research before. Usually, it is not possible to include all variables in modelling as some are not known to be significant or are shown to be insignificant under the current conditions. Reduction in the number of variables may simplify the model and reduce calculations, but it reduces credibility of your results. This means that if you are going to attribute cause of decreasing yields or any other change, you have to go back and reconsider all the primary assumptions made in the first place. There is also the problem that a variable shown to be insignificant under one set of conditions may become very important under another set of conditions.

I am afraid that these days there is too much of a predilection, often subconscious, or because of funding or who you work for, such as in this case CSIRO, for a particular cause to inlfuence a study. Here it appears that the bias is to blame global warming.

Reply to  Tim Ball
March 11, 2017 11:46 am

Wheat is particularly zinc sensitive. The North Dakota recommendation is 10 pounds per acre in the form of zinc sulphate solution.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Tim Ball
March 11, 2017 12:10 pm

“Liebig’s Law or the Law of the Minimum, is a principle developed in agricultural science by Carl Sprengel (1828) and later popularized by Justus von Liebig. It states that growth is controlled not by the total amount of resources available, but by the scarcest resource (limiting factor).” [Source: Wikipedia]

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 12, 2017 11:03 am

Exactly John H., the law of the least limiting factor should not be news to anyone serious about what they are doing.
It applies widely, not just in agriculture.
See how many cars you can build if you have everything but the nuts that hold the wheel on, or piston rings, etc?
How many houses you can build if you have boatloads of every part but no nails?
How productive an oceanic ecosystem will be if there is everything needed for planktonic growth but no iron?

Seriously…it applies to nearly everything.

Reply to  Tim Ball
March 12, 2017 4:15 am

Albrecht and charles Walters covered soil minerals n needs for all soil types waaay back in the 40s onwards
pity more people dont know or read their excellent work!

Reply to  Tim Ball
March 12, 2017 10:57 am

It seems a little difficult to believe that anyone involved in agriculture could be completely ignorant of the effect of a micronutrient deficiency.
For an entire agricultural community to be so ignorant is astounding.
I have to wonder if this is actually true.

Reply to  Tim Ball
March 13, 2017 10:55 am

main issue is the relationship between rainfall and crops and I have not even seen one study here that makes sense to me……
you have to look at it in lots of 2 successive Schwabe solar cycles each
e.g. here is my result for SA comment image

I have similar results for Wellington in NZ, except that the relationship is opposite [a parabola, rather than a hyperbole] but similar correlation coefficient

see my earlier comment on this.
more rain is on its way to NZ and southern AU
HOWEVER less rain will go to the USA in the next decade….

March 11, 2017 9:18 am

In Baldwin County Alabama we have been able to increase soybean crop yield double ( normal 40 bu/a) used 1/3 less fertilizer and herbicides. Bean count from 2800/lb to 3200/lb with no faults. Adding Biocarbon, Fulvic acid made from fresh biomas and Microbes. It can be done and now even with out GMO

Reply to  William E Heritage
March 11, 2017 9:20 am

less than 20 bu/ to 43.8 bu/a

Craig Moore
Reply to  William E Heritage
March 11, 2017 11:30 am Humic and Fulvic acid info.

LOL in Oregon
March 11, 2017 9:25 am

As I found:

The effect of CO2 asymptotes out below 120ppm.
Plants really start growing at 240ppm
…….which allowed mothers to invent agriculture 13,000 years ago.

Anyone who thinks that adding more CO2 does anything
…… besides make plants grow better, feed the poor, etc
is “mental”
….and needs to be kept safe from themselves and others need to be safe from them.

And, of course, the “religiously believe” folk can’t be bothered in their religious belief about silly things like “asymptotes”,
just “sent money”, “your kids serfs to China”, “eliminate the surplus population”, etc

but then, the great Wizards of OZ know all, see all, bloviate all!
…and they don’t need no stinkin “asymptote” to confuse them!
Haaaa Haaaa, Haaa.

March 11, 2017 9:40 am

Wheat has a very low breeding investment as farmers save seed from year to year and thus companies have little incentive to invest in wheat breeding. They make more in corn and soy. The next step in wheat is hybrid wheat, which is likely around the corner, and then breeding investment and yield will increase

Reply to  Brad
March 11, 2017 11:39 am

Pioneer is working on hybrid wheat. But the heterosis yield boost is only a maximum of 15-20 percent, unlike maise. And hybridization is more difficult and expensive than maise. So the farm economics may not work out having to buy expensive new seed each year.
Biggest wheat threat was emergence of UG97 rust that evolved to overcome Borlaugs rust resistance. Took CIMMYT over a decade to breed a new rust resistant strain. Problem is the locally adapted cultivars still need to be developed.

March 11, 2017 9:43 am

Climate change may be a disaster for a number of crops, but not in the way these folks think. The cooling period of the early 1300s was marked by massive crop failures in Europe resulting in a large number of famines. These continued through most of the 1300s. In North America, the northernmost planting line for corn was pushed south. The Mayan civilization collapsed at around this point in time too. If you think warm is bad for crops, cold is a lot, lot worse.

tony mcleod
Reply to  ShrNfr
March 11, 2017 1:11 pm

Cold is worse than warm but hot is worse than cool.
I think you’re saying ‘stable’ would be your preference. Stable as in close to the average of the last 10,000 years. Neither excessive heat nor cold will probably do modern complex society much good.

Reply to  tony mcleod
March 11, 2017 9:51 pm

“Neither excessive heat nor cold will probably do modern complex society much good.”

Not that you could make that sentence any more incomprehensible

Could you use any more weasel words?
• “excessive”?
• • is your heat only excessive or does excessive apply to cold too? Not that excessive applies well to either generic term.
• “probably” – oh yeah, almost useful word.
• “modern complex society”? – Are there “modern simple societies”? Aren’t societies complex by definition?
• “much”?
• “good”? Let alone “much good”

Let’s backtrack to your, almost equally nebulous:

“hot is worse than cool”

First response to that little wispy bit of nonsense, is no!
Apparently you’ve never visited or stood in a cornfield or wheat field during late July in America’s heartland.

Until plants reach cooking temperatures, hot weather by itself, is not a big deal. They grow lushly, have sweeter fruit.
Try visiting any of the southern states during late summer to view their harvests.

“Cool”? What is cool? Is cool any temperature that is not hot?
Cool weather in Maine or Canada would be considered definitely frosty weather in California or Texas.
While cool weather south of the Mason-Dixon line are any temperatures lower than 80°F.

Cold, i.e. temperatures near freezing, damages crops in a multitude of ways. Significant periods of low temperatures, i.e. day time high temperatures less than 80°F (26.7°C), slow plant growth and impair crop yields.
Extended periods with below 70°F (21.1°C) stunt many plants. Coupled with late or early frosts and freezes, can eliminate plants reaching fruiting maturity, known as crop failure.

Climate change, i.e. a series of years with crop failures caused by cold temperatures as history has recorded numerous times are disastrous periods for humanity.

Climate change, i.e. a series of years with significantly warmer temperatures, are recorded by history as beneficial to mankind. These periods are properly described as Optimums.
Alarmist attempts to portray higher temperatures as catastrophic are entirely based on biased fantasies.

Whatever your vague use of the words hot or heat mean to you; they do not mean disaster of any kind to mankind.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  tony mcleod
March 12, 2017 12:18 am

“ATheoK March 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm”

If you want to find congnitively challenged people you will find many in Tony’s home state in Australia, Queensland. After all, it was the state, along with the CSIR, the forerunner to he CSIRO, and sugar companies, that introduced the cane toad.

Reply to  tony mcleod
March 12, 2017 11:08 am

Most every plant grows faster and better when the temp increases, assuming sufficient moisture.
When the weather gets above a certain temp, planting times need to be adjusted, but growing seasons increase in length.
If it gets how enough…you get two growing seasons a year…like in Florida.
Here we plant in February and August.

Reply to  tony mcleod
March 13, 2017 7:33 am

Since we are well below the average of the last 10K years, we can do with 3 or 4 more degrees of warm.

Reply to  tony mcleod
March 13, 2017 7:36 am

BTW, complex societies handle changes a lot better than non-complex societies do.
The variations in weather that caused famines a few hundred years ago are not even noticed today. Both because farmers, with access to better data and techniques can adjust, and because we can ship in food from elsewhere.

Reply to  ShrNfr
March 11, 2017 2:41 pm

“Climate change may be a disaster for a number of crops”

Climate change will have absolutely no effect on crops….
2 degree increase is an average.

summer average temperatures change more than that now…and always have

Reply to  Latitude
March 12, 2017 11:12 am

Not to mention that most of any recent changes have been to make it less cool at night, less cold in Winter, and less cold in the polar regions…all a net benefit to plants.

March 11, 2017 9:44 am

If anything an increase in CO2 will lead to higher yields per acre and to more drought tolerance if research for other crop species is anything to go by. Of course if you plant more acres you will usually get more total weight harvested as is happening in Australia. Yield per acre and it’s growth is not the same as a bumper crop due to increased acres planted.
That yield growth is leveling off in % terms is no surprise and for CSIRO to claim as per above seems to defy this logic.
The claim that GM crops have increased yield by 22% needs to be compared to the yield gains of non GM crops over the same time and one will find that the numbers are nothing like it. Highly controlled tests are not real life on the farm. One can also find tests that show that GM yield growth is less then non GM. Quite possibly a matter of who conducts the test. Monsanto or Greenpiece (no spelling mistake).
If the price of rapeseed goes through the roof next year expect to see a decline in total wheat production which does not mean that yield per acre is dropping.
At the moment the world has got more grain by weight in storage then it has ever had. Perhaps all due to an increase in CO2, there is certainly a correlation here.

Reply to  outtheback
March 11, 2017 12:38 pm

otb…nailed it

David A
Reply to  Latitude
March 12, 2017 8:05 pm

…one thing to add to a series of good posts. The additional CO2 yield comes with zero increase in land or water, and increased mineral efficiency.

Reply to  Latitude
March 13, 2017 7:39 am

One could argue that CO2 means water use is more efficient.
How does CO2 increase mineral efficiency?

Reply to  outtheback
March 12, 2017 11:17 am

If one looks at various measures of yield, whether it be yield per acre, acres planted, or yield per person in terms of total calories of food…all are increasing worldwide, overall and generally.
Individual years and crops have significant variation due to a number of factors.
When was the last time a huge famine, due to crop failure, occurred in the Sahel, or anywhere else anyone can think of?
These events have, in our lifetime, gone from very common to very rare, and are increasingly so in more recent years.

David A
Reply to  Menicholas
March 12, 2017 8:06 pm

…oh, yes we must add to CO2 benefits increased heat wave and drought tolerance.

Curious George
March 11, 2017 9:54 am

Banning a progress in agriculture will stop any yield gains, whether the climate keeps changing or gets somehow fossilized.

Reply to  Curious George
March 11, 2017 2:02 pm

Yes. In Gaia’s Limits I plotted the long term yield gains for maise in the US where GMO is > 90% of the crop, and Europe where it is irrationally prohibited. US continues a fairly linear yield increase trend to 2011 (the book published in early 2012) starting about 1920 with widespread early hybrids. Europe increase stopped dead about 2000; no yield increase since. There are essentially two big maise GMO advantages. 1. Roundup Ready (glyphosate herbicide immune). This enhances yield through better general weed control. Lack of weed control can cut yields 50%. Also enables no till planting, as plowing to control early weed growth is not necessary, which comserved soil organic matter. 2. Bt, which is a natural insecticide protection against things like corn rootworm (the larvae of a small beetle). Corn rootworm can cut yields 25%, and insecticide control is expensive and not fully effective since the problem is down in the soil. Put differently, GMO Bt maise in Mexico (where poor farmers cannot afford insecticides) increases yields almost 30%. So even they can afford the US produced GMO seed.

Reply to  ristvan
March 12, 2017 4:20 am

no trash burns and plough in, leaves rusts fungus and weed seeds to go nuts.
sells a shitload of chem
helps make banks rich
helps make farmers go broke too.

Reply to  ristvan
March 13, 2017 7:42 am

Let me see if I got this straight. In your world, farmers are stupid and will voluntarily do things that cost them money.
Only right thinking people like yourself know what is really in the farmer’s best interests.

March 11, 2017 10:12 am

“but we’ve statistically analysed the trend that we observed” That makes is science and it must be right?

March 11, 2017 11:36 am

Is there a theoretical limit to how much wheat I can grow per acre in North Dakota? The limiting conditions would be growing season, sunlight, temperature, etc. I can irrigate and fertilize but not for free. As well as a theoretical limit there may be a lower practical, economic limit. What is the limit? I have no clue.

March 11, 2017 12:06 pm

Wheat is a C3 crop, so it benefits dramatically from additional CO2 under nearly all conditions. (C4 crops like corn and sorghum benefit little from extra CO2 unless grown where there’s a drought risk — which, of course, means almost everywhere.)

The indispensable CO2Science plant growth database indexes more than a hundred studies of the effects of additional CO2 on wheat. Here’s the list of studies:

Here’s a table summarizing the results:

As you can see, supplementation with an additional 300 ppmv CO2 is dramatically beneficial for wheat, and another 300 ppmv beyond that (+600 ppmv total) is also slightly beneficial.

Unfortunately, outdoor CO2 levels will never get that high. The atmosphere might get to the outdoor equivalent of +300 ppmv, in a century or two, If economic growth continues, and if fusion & thorium power fizzle. But I doubt it, and it will certainly never get to +600 ppmv. So, for practical purposes, the higher the CO2 levels, the more wheat will benefit.

Here in America, crop yields continue to climb:comment image

Chris Hanley
March 11, 2017 12:45 pm

This report concludes that there is an underlying reduction in recent yields per hectare not attributable to the drought possibly due to farming practices:
The longest rainfall records available show an overall increase in rainfall, those areas with less are generally higher rainfall areas except south-west WA.
In any case given the overall climate and soil conditions in Australia there would be no reason to assume crop yields and income would continue to increase indefinitely.

March 11, 2017 12:48 pm

how about if you compared rainfall with crop yields?
[by my results rainfall has gone down over the past 25 years in NZ, probably also in AU


tony mcleod
Reply to  henryp
March 11, 2017 1:14 pm

That’s right hernyp. You don’t just get more plant food, other stuff happens too.

Reply to  tony mcleod
March 11, 2017 1:53 pm

It exactly follows the Hale solar cycle
From 2014 rainfall should be increasing again, for the next 24 yrs in NZ and southern AU

Reply to  tony mcleod
March 11, 2017 1:59 pm

Sorry McClown, Glo.Bull Warming should increase rain, not lessen it…

tony mcleod
Reply to  tony mcleod
March 11, 2017 3:34 pm

How could “Bull” do anything?
Sorry bitch, that’s a logical question.

March 11, 2017 12:53 pm

One could just as easily conclude that the primary reason for increased wheat production through the 20th century was warming. This is how weak the logic is in the argument.

March 11, 2017 1:29 pm

I can think of 2 major reasons why agricultural output is flatlining: irrigation buybacks; and native vegetation laws.

With irrigation, Canberra has decided that it’s better to let river water flow into the sea than to let it be used by irrigation farmers. So taxpayers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to buy back irrigation entitlements. Land that once produced crops is now almost worthless.

Native vegetation laws are even worse. Farmers were once paid to remove scrub from their land to make it productive. Now they’re not allowed to remove scrub or even to remove regrowth from previously cleared land, because it’s “native vegetation”. There was no compensation paid to people who bought land with the aim of improving it. Instead, this increase in scrubby growth was included as a way of hitting Australia’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. In some cases, taxpayers bought previously productive farms and closed them down, in a practice known as “carbon farming”.

Reply to  rubberduck
March 11, 2017 4:08 pm


Enlightening comment.

Progressives who make predictions with the right hand always fulfill them with the left hand.

Reply to  rubberduck
March 11, 2017 9:14 pm

The main problem is the irrigators up stream were drawing too much to allow river flow downstream.

Another Ian
Reply to  rubberduck
March 12, 2017 1:16 am


“There was no compensation paid to people who bought land with the aim of improving it.”

Nor for the people who already owned their land.

And what is deemed “remnant” on our ranch is about as pristine as a recycled virginity.

Reply to  rubberduck
March 12, 2017 4:25 am

yeah and made a fast buck on selling it to greentard interests
meanwhile their kids cant use the land for 99yrs
and buyers are tied to the same crap deal of nonuse allowed
cant graze scrub so fires increase n cause far greater losses to wildlife n habitat
but the greenies dont seem to twig they are the cause of the worst undergrowth n woody weed issues we face since settlement!
not enough of the pweshus snowflakes LIVE in the areas that fires kill in.

Reply to  rubberduck
March 12, 2017 7:07 am

In California “protecting the Delta Smelt minnow” was the excuse they used for flushing out to sea the water their farmers need for irrigation.×345.jpg
I don’t guess they have Delta Smelt minnows in Australia, so I guess they found some other excuse.

Here are three articles about California’s permanent water shortage (snicker!) which argue persuasively that a big part of it is due to environmental politics.

This article is from Feb. 2013 (when there was no drought, or at least not much of one):

This article is from early 2014 (a drought year):

This article is from April, 2015 (also a drought year):

Here’s an excerpt from the 2013 Western Farm Press article:

This [2013] is not a drought year. The meager allotment is the result of too much water.
Heavy rains in November and December created a water flush through the Delta, herding the threatened Delta smelt/minnow south, closer to water pumps that move water from the Delta to the San Luis Reservoir, a storage terminal near Los Banos, Calif., that collects state and federal project water for movement south to urban Californians and San Joaquin Valley farmers. To protect the endangered minnows, the pumps were periodically stopped through the winter. No pumps; no water south. Just water west into the ocean.
The ridiculous environmental rules protecting the Delta minnow say the pumps can only gobble up 305 of the minnows in a water year, which ends Sept. 30. The count is already 232 — more than 75 percent of the limit. So to make sure pumps supply water to 25 million people and millions of acres of farmland consumes no more than four minnow buckets full of smelt — 800,000 acre-feet of water is gone.
Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition points out, “Despite the heavy rain and snowfall earlier this water year in December, farmers will be receiving less water than last year, which was a dry water year.”

I don’t think the pumping halts were really about protecting minnows. Protecting the minnows is a simple engineering problem. You just need larger screened water intakes. The larger the intake, the lower the water velocity at the intake. Most Delta Smelt minnows can swim at more than 20 cm/sec.

It should be straightforward to design large screened water intakes, which take in water slowly enough that they don’t suck in fish. I think the real reason for wasting all that water is simply “green” ideological opposition to human use of natural resources (water, in this case). The minnows are an excuse.

David A
Reply to  daveburton
March 12, 2017 8:24 pm

It’s worse then you illustrate. The State does not want to little water in the delta either. Supposedly to protect the snelt, yet the smelt is a brackish fish and has no problem with salt fresh mix. So Calif releases contiually from some resivoirs to feed the delta. ( perhaps to protect low lying vineyards from salt incursion)

The smelt was endangered not from drought, but due to Calif bringing in game fish. Their solution, bringing in Asian smelt, made it worse, as the more aggresive Asian smelt killed off the already endangered Calif smelt.

Yet all is not lost, as State Universities receive millions ( 400 so far) to study the smelt.

March 11, 2017 1:41 pm

Am I the only one to see a massive disconnect between the AGW narrative and this wheat statement:-

While 2016 set a new national wheat harvest record, the national science organisation’s findings indicate that result masks a more troubling long-term trend.
While Australian wheat yields tripled between 1900 and 1990, growth stagnated over the following 25 years.

How do the AGWers get to ignore the stagnation of temperature while trumpeting the “warmest year ever”, yet the wheaters trumpet the stagnation of wheat production while ignoring the new harvest record.

March 11, 2017 2:03 pm

They predicted the end of snow, rain, glaciers, polar caps, polar bears, penguins and normal weather. All failed. Fortunately CO2 is still there, increasing and aiding the farmers to grow vegetable stuff.

Reply to  ntesdorf
March 11, 2017 4:23 pm

“Embracing GM would provide an immediate realisable yield improvement of up to 22%, followed by whatever gains the next 20 years of GM research delivers.”

The promises of GM technology is not sufficient reason to submit to European Union demands for eliminating chemical controls on the blights and pathogens that have wiped out crops in the recent past. So I agree with ntsdorf about predictions. This conclusion about the guaranteed capabilities of genetically modified crops are just advertisements, promises, and wild predictions. Not unlike the promises of renewables and storage.

Also, GMO varieties will be billed as “sustainable,” and will eventually become the means by which politicians will actually outlaw all of the American cultivars developed over the last 4 centuries. By claiming that chemical and water inputs can be reduced, politicians will rush madly into mandating the use of environmentally friendly, sustainable GMOs.

Only the loony anti-gmo activists have stood in their way, so I feel they are owed some thanks.

Reply to  Zeke
March 12, 2017 4:29 am

i will accept that thanks:-)
monsanto and others but them especially have bought up every small seed producer they can.
total control IS their aim
already heritage varietys are bing sought by the smarter growers and saved and shared to fight back.
I have a few precious seeds of a 50yr old strain of dryland adapted wheat to grow out n breed up.
not this year
looking like mouseplague is coming 🙁

Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 12, 2017 3:01 pm

Sorry to hear about the mice ozspeaksup.

March 11, 2017 2:43 pm

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
Yet again, “Climate Change” fingered as the great demon that causes unending planetary horror.

However, it appears its evil byproducts – modelled heat and CO2 – are in fact increasing, not decreasing wheat crop yields in Australia…

“Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences tips record national crop” (Sep 2016)

And their prediction was spot on:

“Australia’s winter grain crop officially a record at 59 million tonnes.” (Feb 2017)

What planet do the CSIRO climate-obsessed, doomsday scenario “scientists” live on?

Sounds to me that they live on the ever-forgiving and lucrative planet of horror-scenario computer models providing endless government (taxpayer funded) “climate” research grants…

Bill Illis
March 11, 2017 2:56 pm

Wheat and barley are C3 plants.

When CO2 doubles, wheat productivity will increase by 50%.

It will also be more drought tolerant and/or require less rainfall.

Throw in new varieties and better management of fertilization and soil protection, wheat yield is going nowhere but up.

The issue with this study is that it is done by CSIRO. I just think you don’t believe anything put out by this organization. 70% of what you read today is just not true and you should start understanding that right now.

March 11, 2017 3:18 pm

The key is the 20-year prediction horizon, not wheat yields, snow, ice, CO2, drought, storms, or anything else. It’s the 20 factor.

March 11, 2017 4:51 pm

“and soil management improved as farmers adopted new techniques such as zero-till”?
Never heard of that one,I thought ‘Tilling the Soil’ was beneficial. .

Reply to  D.I.
March 11, 2017 6:15 pm

It depends on the crop and the soil. Tilling increases wind and water erosion. There is also the issue of natural occurring bacteria that ‘glue’ the soil together.

There is a lot of science of growing food.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
March 12, 2017 4:32 am

Id rather wind n water risks than rust n fungals and pests breeding in the stubble n trash,
and turning after burning, allows sun n oxygen n water in and microbes to get water and grow .

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  D.I.
March 11, 2017 7:22 pm

One explanation of the benefits of No-Till:

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 12, 2017 7:23 am


Is that the free republic of Fairfax?

For those outside the US, eastern Washington State and Washington DC are about as far apart as you can get politically and climate wise. Fairfax county is part of the Washington DC metropolitan area. There is no farming there just a lot of goverment types telling farmers how to protect the environment. Our youngest son recently graduated from George Mason university and commutes to DC via the metro. We have agreed to not discuss where he works or politics in general. He has the standard views coming from a university that boasts diversity.

He was explaining the problems of intercity schools to me. I got out and did not go back for my children could have diversity. Excellence and achievement should be a goal. Having lived in California, education also comes without diversity or excellence. Is the local education system pulling kids up or down?

Another way to say this is, you have to play the cards you are dealt.

“microbes to get water”

What water! Much of the corn belt is hot and humid. Eastern Washington and other places that grow wheat are semi-arid with less 10″ per year with none in the summer. Eastern Washington is a natural dust bowl. Soil have very little microbes to hold the soil from wind erosion. Farming has greatly reduced blowing dust.

Every farmer I have talked to understand protecting the environment, all city ‘progressives’ are clueless.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 12, 2017 9:57 am

@Retired Kit P 7:23

I’ll respond to this, in a moment: “Eastern Washington is a natural dust bowl.”

But, you can go here to learn about your local conservation district:

We just attended the annual dinner & awards of our local conservation district. I’ve volunteered with some of their activities. Last year we got something back, as they sent a Fire-Wise brushing and chipping crew to begin the work of creating a fuel-free zone around our buildings.
This was the District’s 75 anniversary, from 1942. [Fairfax’s was officialy started in 1945]
The director gave a 20 minute history of these agencies.

Now about that “dust bowl”:
We live east of the Cascades where the Ponderosa pines meet the sage brush – steppe. To the east the land was torn apart by great floods during past periods of glacial advances. That area gets the name “Scablands” because layers of basalt have been uncovered. The fine particles, silt, were mostly deposited in south central Washington (State) northeast of the Wallula Gap (Columbia River at Oregon).
That silt was carried by the wind into eastern Washington, the Palouse Region, where it (the deposit) is called loess.
Early farming practices caused significant erosion, but the conservation districts working with the farmers, and WSU, have changed that for the better.
There are a few places in the central part of the State where climate, weather, and geography conspire to create dunes. Locals consider these small areas to be “treasures” and if, while in the State, you call these dust bowls — smile when you do that.

March 11, 2017 6:14 pm

Australian Leftist government hacks are destroying Austalia’s economy with Leftist Lysenkoism and Luddism.

These feckless political hacks make Australian food exports uncompetitive, and lower Australians’ living standards through higher food and energy costs…

How much longer will Leftist ideologies be taken seriously?

Dave O.
March 11, 2017 6:20 pm

Main reason for decreasing wheat output is very low prices. Not much incentive to spend massive amounts of money for no return.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Dave O.
March 11, 2017 7:52 pm

Much grain and low prices in the USA. Also, recent reports of huge South American crops are causing prices of Corn and Soybeans to fall. Apparently USA mid-west farmers are watching closely and the low Corn price forecast is pushing them more toward Soybeans. That will force the price down more. Sunflowers and Grain Sorghum (Milo) seem better alternatives in the Wheat regions.
These folks now have good international data, and adjust acres before planting. Well, for 2017, “winter wheat” is in the ground.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 12, 2017 6:47 am


But you left out Russian wheat surplus.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 12, 2017 7:42 am

So there are factors besides ethanol?

Eastern Washington has rivers with dams. If the salmon count is decreasing, tear out the dams. If the salmon count is increasing, it is favorable ocean conditions.

There is a constant, if you produce something; there are those who will find reason why you should do it differently.

Reply to  Dave O.
March 11, 2017 10:09 pm

With any business, the key to profitability are: increases in productivity, efficiency, lower costs and technological advances.

Last year was the largest wheat harvest in human history, which was accomplished by crop yields almost TRIPLING since 1960 from: GMO advancements, cheap fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide proudcuton from cheap fossil fuels, increases in CO2 fertilization, vastly improved irragation systems, incredible technological advances in farming equipment technology, improved storage fascilities and distribution.

Governments must end: all farm subsidies, all food for fuel fiascos and all Agricultural Depatments. Just let the free market and insurance companies regulate agriculture, thereby assuring only the most effient, safest and cheapest producers survive.

Governments just screw up everything they get involved in.

Reply to  SAMURAI
March 11, 2017 10:22 pm

For the record, if we are talking specifically about Australia, my research shows that the only GM crops they grow are

canola and cotton.

The US does not grow any GM wheat either.

The wheat is just good old fashioned cultivars developed through selective plant breeding. Maybe a little mutation by radiation, I don’t know.

Reply to  SAMURAI
March 12, 2017 6:54 am

The biggest problem with the climate argument is Australia is not currently taking best advantage of available technology. While much of the rest of the world has embraced genetic modification to improve yields and resistance to pests, and reduce pesticide use, scare campaigns have kept Australia largely GM free,

SAMURAI March 11, 2017 at 10:09 pm
Last year was the largest wheat harvest in human history, which was accomplished by crop yields almost TRIPLING since 1960 from: GMO advancements,

There is no licensed GMO wheat grown commercially anywhere on the planet. Monsanto’s experiments has cost them a lot in fines because it hasn’t been possible to confine it to the fields it has been grown in and it spreads to neighboring fields.
See for example:

Phil Rae
Reply to  SAMURAI
March 13, 2017 4:58 am


With all due respect, I DON’T want to be mistaken for another Phil who posts here and obviously has completely different opinions than I do. So, I am re-posting my earlier comment under my full name. Others have also drawn attention to the fiasco of Greenpeace et al. opposing Golden Rice but I just want to make it clear that Phil. (with a full stop) is not the same Phil as me! Sorry if this is a redundant post!

My earlier post was:

“The UK government gave the go ahead for trials of GM wheat to begin in 2017 just a few weeks ago. Supposedly, the GM version has 40% improvement in yield (under glass) and even the Biased Broadcasting Corporation carried the story….with the usual spin from their environmental desk. So, the technology is there…..and I guess the same can be done for barley. GM rice (e.g. Golden Rice with extra Vitamin A) has already been around for a while and other modifications are now being planted commercially – we just need people to stop ranting on about “Frankenfoods” and to realise that more efficient photosynthesis is a good thing, as is reduced amounts of pesticides, fertilizer, etc. In the case of Golden Rice, the extra Vitamin A was intended to address a problem that kills ~ 500,000 children a year but its introduction was fought vociferously by environmental groups. So much for helping people in the developing world – rather reminiscent of Rachel Carson’s endeavours, I’d say!

March 11, 2017 7:44 pm

As usual, if you look further, the article falls apart.

In the original wording, note the caveat.

“While wheat yields have been largely the same over the 26 years from 1990 to 2015, potential yields have declined by 27% since 1990, from 4.4 tonnes per hectare to 3.2 tonnes per hectare.

Potential yields are the limit on what a wheat field can produce.”

In other words, they make up an arbitrary ‘potential yield’ for the period 1990-2015, fine tuned to show a decline in both potential production and potential growth that isn’t actually a decline at all.

They then say it is ‘1 in 100 billion’ (red flag) that this isn’t caused by climate change. Actually it’s quite simple, it’s caused by making up ‘potential’ figures to show a decline. So much for the 1 in 100 billion.

What is surprising is how often this statistical nonsense gets air time. It should be laughed off stage.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
March 11, 2017 8:09 pm

Having learnt about CSIRO doctoring the temperature record to promote the CAGW narrative, I can’t believe anything they say.

(See that’s what happens when you tell lies.)

March 11, 2017 8:14 pm

The term ‘climate change’ is a loaded term that means different things to different people. It is a euphemism for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. The term has no place in a scientific article. This article is essentially meaningless as it pertains to a non-existent entity.

David A
Reply to  Dalosserous
March 12, 2017 8:40 pm

Always true. C.C. is meaningless. IN CAGW theory the C is completely MIA.

The G and the W are pretty much MIA as well.

Reply to  David A
March 13, 2017 8:03 am

Uh oh. Only one letter left, if the A goes missing as well, we’re all going to be in a lot of trouble.

March 11, 2017 9:12 pm

Long story short the market value for wheat has been dropping around the world because there is an oversupply of the crop due to huge crops everywhere including the wheat crop in Australia. Farmers around the world have been aware of this reality for several months now.
It appears that there are some Australians that need to read a few market reports.

March 11, 2017 10:24 pm

Mods, my mild mannered, reasonable post to Samurai went into the sin bin. All I said was that neither Australia nor the US actually grow GM wheat. So increased yields are not due to GM crops in those two countries.

March 11, 2017 11:07 pm

To clarify an earlier comment that may have been s*^tcanned…

Underlying any successful theory must be a reasonable premise or premises’. This article states:

“Australia’s wheat productivity has flatlined as a direct result of climate change, according to CSIRO research.”

‘Climate change’ is a loaded term which means different things to different people. It is a euphemism for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. CAGW is an hypothesis. You can’t justify a scientific theory upon a euphemism. Would you argue that you’re psychic because you win a game of two-up? In what way could you argue or justify causation?

This is like saying, ‘X floods occurred because too many people sinned in that city and god decided to punish them’.

#First you would need to explain gods existence, then explain why god would do that…

#Similarly, you would need to explain how man’s CO2 signature has an effect on temperature, then you’d need to explain how it would be catastrophic.

Anyone that states ‘climate change’ is responsible for anything other than waste, malfeasance, and as a virtue signalling tool for leftists or ignoramus’ is plain and simply, incorrect.

March 11, 2017 11:47 pm

So on the farm next but one to mine, the neighbour pumps his tomatoes, cucumber, greenhouses full of CO2, he uses 1200ppm but says he could use up to 1600ppm. On the other side my wheat grower neighbour envies him, because the 400ppm his wheat has at sun-up has dropped to 200ppm in the paddock by noon. Its still 400 ppm at 400meters in the air. The wheat has sucked in the ground CO2 to make more wheat. What does the CSIRO know about essential plant nutrient CO2 that makes it think 400ppm is an apex. This idiocrasy is paid for out of my pocket. These goons will get handsome superannuated pensions for being politically correct and scientifically stupid.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Ted
March 12, 2017 12:10 am

As far as I know, most Govn’t paid agencies in Aus can get up to 17% superannuation, paid!

March 12, 2017 3:14 am

My first job as a science graduate was with Australia’s CSIRO doing plant nutrition research. Spent about 7 years on the topic at 3 different labs. I rather much respect the work of CSIRO to the present, except for some poor science on the global warming front. My work with plants was a while back, but a lot of scientific fundamentals do not change with refinement and understanding over time.
To appreciate this WUWT article, one needs to separate the science of plant nutrition, breeding, modification etc from the politics of it all. Politics and GMOs go hand in hand by pressure from activists, not because there is any basic danger if politics is kept out.
On the topic of whether more value can be squeezed out of wheat from more research, I have a view that yes, more can be done. It is usual to evaluate a new strain or modification by factorial trials where a number of growth or nutrition-affecting variables are controlled at several levels, so that analysis of variance type methods can be used to find the main drivers of better wheat and how they interact with each other. These variables include the 20 or so fertilizers from major to trace, plus surrounding conditions like rainfall, temperature and hopefully now, some estimate of ambient CO2 in the nourishing air. If this is done a few times, one can optimise the growing conditions that lead to the best gains in yield or nutritional value or pest resistance, whatever the main aim is.
The problem at the coal face is that when you have optimised, you might well say, let us try for optimum at another location, another country, another soil type, another set of crop competitors. Straight away, you will probably find that your optimum set for your first soil is not optimum for another soil elsewhere. There is a lkot of sensitivity to soil properties, but you are stuck with the soil Nature put there. You can manage it in certain ways, but at the end of the day you still have a chance to do significantly better if you optimise in detail for your given soil. The gains from doing this can be of the same order of magnitude as from breeding better strains, GMOs or not.
While the science of GMOs is at the glamour end, the hard yards of normal farm improvement should not be neglected. When CSIRO claims the end of wheat improvement is near, i wonder if they have included this simple move.
That move will commonly involve tailoring applications of fertilizer such as potash, phosphate, trace and minor elements. There are about 20 of these and finding the best combination for a given soil can be a long task, but a fruitful one. I suspect that in future decades, there will be more relative attention paid to sourcing and tailoring these fertilizers, but it is not easy science because there are so many combinations. Then, there are the less controllable variables.
Prominent among the rogue variables are farming trends. The most pestilent of the current trends is no doubt so-called ‘organic farming’. At its worst, this involves ritual mixtures of dung and other matter stuffed into old cattle horns and buried on a phase of the Moon, to be dug up, dissolved with incantations and spread so dilute over a field that it has the zero chance of scientific success that homeopathy by dilution has. At its best, organic farming is a curse that causes farmers to think twice about doing odd things because they are trendy, but I can discern no redeeming feature of organic farming as commonly known that would make you even read about it. It is simply so anti-science and anti common sense that it has to be ignored.
To the extent that public science bodies like CSIRO might have to mention organic farming, or let it influence their research, or that they have to kowtow to it to ensure future funding, then it is a hazard. I do hope that the CSIRO conclusion of a maximum to be reached by wheat in a few years has not been influenced by any trendy anti-science, especially organic farming.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 12, 2017 4:43 am

funny that your dissed organic farming was what kept the entire bloody planet fed till they needed to find a way to dump waste from war production chemical after ww2?
synthetic fertiliser instead of using crop waste to feed onfarm and allow the minerals back into the farm ONfarm. the bare minimum should be sold off farm
abbatoir waste and veg/crop trims should be incorporated back to the soil it came from

Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 12, 2017 5:28 am

I fully agree with methods that keep required nutrients in places where they do most good, economically as well as nutritionally. It is inevitable that nutrients like K and P will be dispersed wider and wider as normal farming and consumption proceeds. Not all can be replaced by low grade supplements like animal waste alone. You reach a point where a high grade injection is needed. So potash from a mine, phosphate from a mine are best option.
Dissing organic farming is a separate issue. Organic farming should have been killed at conception. It is not the same beast as its predecessor, being the way farming was done from the beginning of agriculture.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 12, 2017 5:40 am

“tailoring applications of fertilizer such as ”

I can see an application for small, pseudo random changes to the fertilizer mix in strips or fields and at harvest time a drone photo could let the farmer know what the best mix was for best production.

Over the years, the best fertilizer mix per field could determined…

Reply to  steverichards1984
March 12, 2017 5:45 am

I am talking fine tuning of application levels of up to 20 nutrients, so we are in different ball parks.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 12, 2017 8:56 am

Fine tuning is already here with improved soil sampling methods. Survey results are combined with airial drone or plane soil surveys and satellite-driven computer aided nutrient application from the tractor cab or keyed into circle irrigation applications from a central fertilizer storage base that feeds irrigation circles.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 12, 2017 1:36 pm

I wish it were as precise as you describe in our area, Pam. We send in soil samples and amendment is applied to the entire plot based on an average of the samples. The Agri-Cat or Spray-buggy just applies the pre-mixed chemicals at a set per-square-foot rate. We use the GPS for planting (tractors) and harvesting (combines), but we contract soil amendment and herbicide application to folks who are invested in that agricultural service (FS).

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 12, 2017 1:48 pm

Still, thanks for the Mosaic link, I’ll pass it around. We’ll see what the bottom line is.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 12, 2017 10:40 am

I find it hard to believe farmers are not managing their fertilizer use, rather deferring to a government body for instructions.

Reply to  Gamecock
March 13, 2017 3:17 pm

My point is that more detailed nutrient management by farmers still has remaining potential for higher yields.

March 12, 2017 4:47 am

Fake news. The ABC story links back to no published research I can find.

There’s an audio interview with Zvi Hockman who said: in the growing season, over the last 26 years in the Land of Oz:
* maximum temperatures increased by 1ºC
* rainfall decreased by 72mm (per year)
They used a model to find that there was a consistent fall in wheat yields of 47kg / hectare / year.

1: Hockman does not talk about GMOs
2: temperature increases are associated with faster plant growth.
3: there’s no glass ceiling on GM. Long-term GM aims are nitrogen fixation and improved photosynthesis. Both these will lead to revolutions in farming.
4: He seems to have entirely discounted the beneficial effects of more CO2. CO2 leads to (1) faster plant growth, (2) larger plants, (2) improved growth in arid (low water) conditions.

March 12, 2017 6:07 am

I predict us conniving humanoids will make a mockery of the prediction.

Brian Williams
March 12, 2017 6:10 am

The sooner people learn about the deadly effects of living off grain rather than meat the better. Use the land for pasture-raised cattle instead of feeding them corn in feedlots. Live off meat and fat and avoid the obesity, diabetes, and cancer endemic with living off wheat.

Reply to  Brian Williams
March 12, 2017 12:15 pm

I eat a fair amount of bread and Weetabix but don’t have obesity, diabetes, or cancer.

You forgot to post your evidence.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Brian Williams
March 12, 2017 1:01 pm

Here’s a fly in the ointment, GMO alfalfa in the pasture (rare as that may be, right now)…

Reply to  Brian Williams
March 13, 2017 8:12 am

I was reading a study recently that examined ancient skelotons and they determined that the so called paleo diet was dominated by grains and berry’s. Not meat.

March 12, 2017 6:41 am

90 miles across the shallow Torres Strait lies enough water to supply 300 hundred million people in Oz. I wrote about this in the 90s. I may have been the first person to think of it. In effect, this would be like creating the Nile of the Southern Hemisphere, which never quite happened because it was cut off by the sea. Oz is amazing low and flat so moving the water would be relatively cheap.

Pamela Gray
March 12, 2017 8:30 am

The idea that climate change will reduce wheat production obviously is made by people who don’t know how to grow wheat. Which makes the entire premis of the article laughable!

Pop Piasa
March 12, 2017 9:30 am

I see from reading here that folks in OZ have been getting dosed with the anti-chemical/anti-GMO kool-aid quite often. Here’ a “natural herbicide” you can mix up yourself compared to glyphosate.
Be careful handling it in concentrate, it’s just as toxic.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 12, 2017 9:53 am

Most of the scare-mongering is coming out of one initial source: the Seralini Team
Similar in sensationalism and tactics to the central figures in the climate change socio-political movement. Both wish to unseat the status-quos of current society without offering sufficient proof of need, or alternatives other than rolling back what progress has been already made.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 12, 2017 12:43 pm

(Dammit- just one comma and I still put it in the wrong spot!)

Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 13, 2017 8:14 am

I’ve been thinking of putting together a lobbying group that will demand the banning of commas. Especially military grade commas.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 12, 2017 11:34 am

How long before Seralini and his disciples launch a #Monsanto Knew campaign?

March 12, 2017 10:43 am

‘the two lines cross each other – in about 20 years’ time – and by then we will start to see declining yields.’

How’s that for a bold prediction? It is of no use to anyone.

March 12, 2017 5:26 pm

This article is laughable – there are no commercial GM wheat varieties currently. Where’s this 22 % immediate yield increase going to come from. Also, almost all cotton in Australia is GM. It’s not small scale. Australia is not Europe; there’s a reasonable level of acceptance here.

March 13, 2017 1:14 am

I have just read Infrastructure Australia’s report on the 100 Highest Priority indrastructure projects needed in Australia. They cite alarming population figures by 2035 and use this to justify massive spending on roads and rail. As I read I realised there was absolutely no mention of two things: NO new dams for drinking or irrigation (so no increase in food production); NO new power stations.
So how the hell are all these future Australians going to survive except at Third World levels? Maybe that is their plan and it is not an oversight. Cunning bastards!

March 13, 2017 1:16 am

The hybrid yield increase in corn was about the same in corn when it started and look at corn now. The same can happen in wheat as hybrids will drive research investment.

March 13, 2017 6:27 am

That sounds a lot like the US patent office manager who claimed 100 years ago that the office needed to be closed because everything worth inventing had already been invented.

March 17, 2017 8:32 pm

Two major thing wrong in this piece. First GM wheat is NOT currently approved, so that was a meaningless point to make. Second those working with breeding wheat thought we would hit the peak of wheat advancement years back but we keep going… so far.

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