Agriculture plays an important role in the growth of any country’s economy. In any given year, the combined production of seafood, livestock, and crops significantly influence the stability of a nation’s economy. While this is the case, agriculture depends entirely on the climate to flourish. For instance, if there is an increase in carbon dioxide and temperature, the total agricultural yield might be high in that area. However, other factors that influence the amount of yield realized in a given farm include the availability of water, level of moisture in the soil, as well as the level of nutrients.
Similarly, changes in climate can have adverse impacts on the fisheries sector which is considered part of agriculture. For instance, changes in temperature such as warm temperature can led to a shift in some species of fish like the shellfish leading to a disruption in the ecosystems. In general, change in climate can impact the way farmers grow crops, rear fish and other animals in eth same places they are used to. As such, there is a need to be aware of how changes in agriculture can affect agriculture, as well as how to deal with such impacts. This article provides an in-depth discussion of how changes in weather can impact agricultural practices in general.
Impacts on crops
- The crops grown in various parts of the world play a critical role in feeding the world. Some of the factors that influence the percentage of crop yields include intensity and frequency of weather, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and temperature. Each type of crop has its own optimal temperature level past which growth and production are adversely affected. Changes in temperature affect a given crop depending on the amount of temperature that the crop needs to grow and reproduce. For instance, warm temperatures may favor certain crops while having adverse effects on others. A decline in the yield is expected in areas where the weather is not favorable.
- If the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is high, the chances are high that the crop yields will be adversely affect. While there are concerns that a high level of carbon dioxide is good for plant’s growth, other factors like nutrients and water constraints, temperatures changes, and the ozone have counteracting effect. There is a close relationship between nitrogen and protein content and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If the carbon dioxide is high, a reduced content of nitrogen and protein is expected in the affected crops.
- Increased level of precipitation and temperature can affect the growth and productivity of crops. Farmers experience low yields as result of extreme events such as droughts and floods.
- Increase in summer temperatures affect the moisture content in soils making it hard to support crop growth. The only alternative in such cases is irrigation but still drought makes it hard to access enough water for farming.
- Increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, wetter climates and warmer temperatures led to the growth and high productivity of fungi, pests, and weeds which combined, affect the percentage of yield obtained in a given farmland.
Impacts on livestock
The quantity of meat consumed in a year in the world is overwhelming. For example, the U.S. consumes over 35 million metric tons of poultry and meat each year. Indirect and direct effects on livestock occur following changes in climatic conditions.
- Increase in heat waves can threaten livestock. For example, increase in temperature in 2011 led to more than USD1 billion in terms of losses in U.S’s agricultural producers. Heat stress both direct and indirect impact on livestock, which can cause milk production reduction, reduction in fertility of the animals, as well as increase in disease vulnerability.
- Changes in climate can lead to drought that can significantly threaten supplies in feeds and pasture. Drought causes a reduction in the amount of quality foliage that livestock can feed on.
- Changes in climate have a high probability of increasing the prevalence of diseases and parasites on livestock.
- Veterinary practices are also subject to changes in climate. For example, climatic changes can lead to an increase in the frequency of pesticides use as well as other treatment on the livestock. Such changes in the veterinary practices can have adverse impacts on the human health and even on the efficiency of the pesticides.
- Increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can lead to high production of pasture, though reduces its quality. As well, some foliage can decrease in terms of quality following an increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide. The implication is that the livestock will need to get more of the low quality foliage for them to attain the same nutritional benefits.
Evidently, changes in climate can have adverse impacts in farming –both in the rearing of livestock and the growth and productivity of crops. Depending on the specific change in climate, it is possible to experience some benefits. For example, certain climatic changes might lead to a lengthened growing season and an increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Nevertheless, other effects that result from warmer conditions are imminent such as flooding, droughts, and more pests. How then is it possible for farmers to adapt in such conditions? There is a need for more research and investment in the appropriate farmlands with consideration in the crops and animals that do well in certain conditions of climate. Several researchers have found out that while some farmlands are beneficial in warm climates, others would not be beneficial. It is important to noted that though climate is important in yields, it is not the only determining factor. The future of production –livestock and crops, depends on the agricultural practices adopted, global demand, political shifts, and climate. To be successful amidst the changing climatic conditions, it is advisable for farmers to understand what works best in certain conditions of climate. One significant approach is to modernize agricultural methods and practices, and diversify the fields.