Climate projections suggest jeopardized corn yields for 2050.

Farmers in places such as Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, will likely have to change their corn-growing strategies to succeed in the future, researchers say. Farmers in that area may have to plant corn earlier and even use irrigation -- as they now do in much of the Midwest -- to maintain corn yields adequate to sustain dairy farms. Image: Smallbones/Wikimedia Commons

Farmers in places such as Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, will likely have to change their corn-growing strategies to succeed in the future, researchers say. Farmers in that area may have to plant corn earlier and even use irrigation -- as they now do in much of the Midwest -- to maintain corn yields adequate to sustain dairy farms. Image: Smallbones/Wikimedia Commons

Team: Heather Karsten, Rishi Prasad, Greg Roth, Alan Rotz, Stephan Kpoti Gunn, Anthony Buda, and Anne Stoner

Using localized projected climate data from nine global climate models, researchers judged future corn-growing conditions at Syracuse, New York; State College, Pennsylvania; and Landisville, Pennsylvania. They calculated the number and timing of expected extreme heat days and crop water-deficit periods.

Rising temperatures are not likely to cause serious reductions in corn crops in the northern and central parts of the Northeast, but they threaten corn yields in the southern reaches of the region. Corn in the Northeast near the end of the twenty-first century will experience fewer spring and fall freezes and a faster rate of growing-degree-day accumulation with a reduction in time required to reach maturity, providing more opportunity for double cropping. Farmers in places such as Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, an area with many dairies heavily reliant on corn for feed, will likely have to change their corn-growing strategies to address extreme temperature stress during corn’s key reproductive stages. Water deficits are also expected to be greatest during corn’s reproductive stages. To adapt, farmers may have to plant earlier, adopt short-season hybrids, and even use irrigation to maintain corn yields adequate to sustain dairy farms.

Funding

USDA Agricultural Research Service

News

Climate projections suggest Lancaster County corn yields in jeopardy by 2050

Thematic Area

Advanced Agricultural and Food Systems

Office for Research and Graduate Education

Address

217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2600

Office for Research and Graduate Education

Address

217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2600