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Friday, September 6, 2013

Adaption Strategies for Grain Sorghum for a Varying Climate

Plant growth simulations developed by Kansas State University researchers have shown that by shifting planting dates earlier by three weeks and applying irrigation at appropriate times, farmers can mitigate sorghum yield losses due to increasing temperature and decreasing precipitation.

Management practice adjustments, especially planting date shifts and irrigation have the potential to counteract the effect of climate change on the yield of some crops. This research provides farmers with alternative strategies to adapt to the effects of climate change and decrease their yield loss.

Rapid change in temperature, precipitation and the concentration of carbon dioxide is a major concern. These climate variables directly and indirectly affect the agriculture sector, mainly by reducing productivity. Researchers can use highly detailed crop models to simulate the effects of different predicted climate scenarios. The results can allow them to suggest crop management strategies to farmers for adapting to a given scenario. An adaptation strategy such as shifting planting dates earlier allows a crop to grow in a comparatively favorable environment avoiding the detrimental effect of higher temperatures on growth. A focused irrigation strategy can also help to balance reduced soil moisture and leaf water, caused by lower precipitation and higher temperatures.

This research is being conducted at Kansas State University Department of Agronomy by Abhishes Lamsal, Aavudai Anandhi Swamy, M.B. Kirkham and PV. Vara Prasad. Photo credit: Milo Head (by Larry Schwarm, used by permission)

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