A recent study shows that increases in temperature decrease wheat production globally. With wheat being the third largest crop produced in the world, the effects of climate change could cause a substantial impact on the human food source.
Research by the University of Florida’s Senthold Asseng, a professor of the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, conceded that increasing temperatures will reduce the wheat production by 4 to 6 percent for each one degree of temperature increase on a global scale.
Asseng and his team developed simulation models at key representative points and repeated models with many growers to develop a global-scale data set. Production numbers and climate data were then compared to simulation models by other groups across the world. The study utilized simulation models, statistical models and grid models to separate individual factors of climate change and focused directly on temperature. Although the data collection methods differed, they provided the same conclusion: Rising global temperatures have negative impacts on wheat yield.
Looking at yield reports from other countries, this trend is not clear. Many reports show the world’s wheat yield has been increasing over the last decade, despite knowledge that temperatures have already increased. These reported yield increases can be contributed to greater acreage planted in wheat, higher nutrient availability and other cropping tools implemented to increase production.
Asseng says, “It is very important to actually prepare for adaptation, by knowing what changes are expected with climate change and what do they actually do to the crop, like temperature reduces production and now we can see what we can do in relation to temperature.” He has confidence that with the knowledge of negative wheat yield implications due to increasing global temperatures, there is an opportunity for research on ways to aid in plant adaption as temperatures continue to rise.