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Short Communication: Climate change and biofuel wheat: A case study of southern Saskatchewan

Wang, H., He, Y., Qian, B., McConkey, B., Cutforth, H., McCaig, T., McLeod, G., Zentner, R., DePauw, R., Lemke, R., Brandt, K., Liu, T., Qin, X., White, J., Hunt, T., Hoogenboom, G. (2012). Short Communication: Climate change and biofuel wheat: A case study of southern Saskatchewan, 92(3), 421-425. http://dx.doi.org/10.4141/CJPS2011-192

Abstract

This study assessed potential impacts of climate change on wheat production as a biofuel crop in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. The Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer-Cropping System Model (DSSAT-CSM) was used to simulate biomass and grain yield under three climate change scenarios (CGCM3 with the forcing scenarios of IPCC SRES A1B, A2 and B1) in the 2050s. Synthetic 300-yr weather data were generated by the AAFC stochastic weather generator for the baseline period (1961-1990) and each scenario. Compared with the baseline, precipitation is projected to increase in every month under all three scenarios except in July and August and in June for A2, when it is projected to decrease. Annual mean air temperature is projected to increase by 3.2, 3.6 and 2.7°C for A1B, A2 and B1, respectively. The model predicted increases in biomass by 28, 12 and 16% without the direct effect of CO2 and 74, 55 and 41% with combined effects (climate and CO2) for A1B, A2 and B1, respectively. Similar increases were found for grain yield. However, the occurrence of heat shock (> 32°C) will increase during grain filling under the projected climate conditions and could cause severe yield reduction, which was not simulated by DSSAT-CSM. This implies that the future yield under climate scenarios might have been overestimated by DSSAT-CSM; therefore, model modification is required. Several measures, such as early seeding, must be taken to avoid heat damages and take the advantage of projected increases in temperature and precipitation in the early season.

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