Farming becoming riskier under climate change
A new University of Illinois study puts climate change predictions in terms that farmers are used to: field working days.
In the new study, they coupled those models with climate change scenarios to forecast field working days into the future.
The models suggest that the typical planting window for corn will no longer be workable; April and May will be far too wet to work the fields in most parts of Illinois.
But we’ve already seen the trend for early planting.
Those drier, hotter summers are likely to change farming practices too, particularly in southern Illinois.
If farmers bet on the early planting window and get hit with a frost or more March precipitation than expected, are they out of luck?
Or farmers could choose shorter-season cultivars, planting early and then harvesting before the drought, possibly sacrificing yield.
That’s good, but I think we’ve fallen behind in the cropping system management side.
Given the weather in Illinois this late winter/early spring, this work seems particularly timely.
Changes in field workability and drought risk from projected climate change drive spatially variable risks in Illinois cropping systems.