How to Improve Crop Production in a Changing Climate
The agricultural system at any location across the world is strongly influenced by the climate. The farming communities generally adapt and deal with local weather conditions by following certain farming practices, adopting infrastructure and using their experience. However, the problem of climate change and its consequences are expected to severely impact agriculture and threaten to disrupt the established systems.
According to a research team from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, climate change has already affected crop yields, reducing the production of staples such as rice by 0.3% and wheat by 0.9% across the globe, on average every year. The findings also point out the effect of climate change on consumable food calories. The study shows a reduction of 1% yearly for the top 10 food crops. Although it seems small, the percentage of the calories is enough for over 50 million people with every day diet of more than 1,800 calories.
With the growing population globally, climate change can impact food security goals. If the actual yield and potential yield remains the same, crop production per person and income is predicted to reduce by 22.5% compared to 2010. Thus, there is an urgent need for sustainable and innovative solutions for agriculture. Biological seed treatment is fast emerging as a promising method to reduce the impact of climate change and improve crop production sustainably.
Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture
According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) A1B scenario, emission of greenhouse gases consistently will increase the annual temperature from 2.5 °C to 4.3 °C at regions where crops are grown by 2080 to 2099. Moreover, higher temperatures will accompany reduced precipitation. Plus, heat waves are predicted to be more frequent, and tropics and subtropics may experience extreme seasonal temperatures yet unseen today.
Experts also expect changing rainfall patterns, more droughts, increased flooding, rising sea levels, depending on different regions. Thus, the agricultural system is predicted to face multifaceted challenges from climate change in the near future. Some of them are discussed.
1) Extreme temperatures can affect crop production if they occur at key stages of development. It is believed that short temperature changes for little time at the flowering stage minimizes yield. Depending on crops and location, crossing temperature thresholds leads to alteration in crop physiology and devastation.
2) Droughts take a heavy toll on crops such as rice, maize, barley, soya bean and others. Drought related yield reduction will increase by over 50% in 2050, as per studies.
3) The sea-level rise and resulting floods will reduce farming land areas, accelerate soil erosion and pollute water. It can further lead to anaerobicity, impact plant growth, lower grain quality and fungal diseases.
4) Climate change and increase in carbon dioxide concentration are known to increase the pests and diseases problem with more migration across different places. Due to the environmental stress, crop resistance to diseases may be impacted as well.
5) It may also increase the price for staples such as rice, wheat, maize and soya bean in the future, which may have drastic consequences for the world economy.
Besides the effects discussed, the latest studies have revealed that climate change is playing a major role in reducing the nutritional value of crops. Nutrition depletion in plants is a big concern as it can affect public health. Surface temperature rise, water scarcity and unprecedented levels of CO2 are chiefly responsible for plant nutrition depletion. Thus, a proactive and sustainable approach is the need of the hour to improve crop production and boost agricultural output.
Advantages of Biological seed treatment
According to the latest reports, the market for biological seed treatment is estimated to reach 1.9 billion dollars by the year 2027. There is a significant interest among the scientific community to explore different ways biological seed treatment can solve climate change challenges and improve crop production. The results are encouraging.
Bio-treated seeds help in overcoming nutrition-related challenges and helps by improving defenses against diseases. Other advantages include:
- Boosts crop resistance to pathogens
- Minimizes biotic stress
- Maximizes resistance to changes in temperature and related effects
- Helps in early germination
- Improves nutrient absorption, root development
- Better plant growth
- Improves crop yields
Microbial inoculation is a helpful treatment method for improved crop production. The placement of microbes leads to the colonization of seedling roots. It helps in better nutrient absorption, protects against soil-borne diseases, improves stress tolerance in drought and much more.
Organic Biotech is one of the leaders in developing sustainable solutions for agriculture. The aim is to provide the farming community with advanced, innovative and cost-effective products that enhance soil productivity naturally and effectively, leading to better crop yields. The wide range of Magic Gro products contains highly beneficial microbes that can adapt to different geo-climatic conditions and maintain a healthy ecological balance in the soil. Magic Gro products are highly capable of improving crop production by boosting crop vigour, immunity against biotic and abiotic stress and help overcome climate change challenges.