climate

Over the past few decades, Iowa’s agriculture has experienced a period of consistently high yields. The perfect distribution and timing of humidity, rainfall and heat have led to bumper crops of corn and soybeans. This “Goldilocks” period is partly due to global warming, but experts believe farmers shouldn’t expect it to last.

In an article from Physics Today’s February issue, “Iowa’s agriculture is losing its Goldilocks climate,” scientists Eugene Takle and William Gutowski describe the challenges farmers could expect to see to maintaining high yields if global warming continues along predicted trends.

More than 80 farmers, academics and members of the agricultural supply chain met in Des Moines, Nov. 25, for an Iowa Smart Agriculture Initiative forum co-sponsored by Solutions from the Land and Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They met to explore and assess the impacts that extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions are having and are expected to have on the state's number one industry — and how the agricultural sector can contribute to addressing these issues.

The forum was coordinated by a  work group co-chaired by Iowa corn and soybean producer Ray Gaesser, a past chairman and president of the American Soybean Association, and Daniel J. Robison, Endowed Dean's Chair of Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Science and a co-chair of the Iowa Conservation Infrastructure Initiative.

The wet spring weather that flooded Iowa rivers and hampered the planting of crops follows trends noted in last year’s National Climate Assessment, said an Iowa State University agronomist who studies climate.

The 2018 National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report issued every four years, detailed a number of trends relevant to the Midwest when it was released last November. A national team of climate experts produced the assessment, drawing on the most recent climate science to describe how global climate change could affect human and societal welfare.

Dr. S. Elwynn Taylor
Professor

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University is a partner institution in a new, $104 million research center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the project will study the next generation of plant-based, sustainable, cost-effective biofuels and bioproducts.

The DOE grant will form the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation, one of only four in the nation. The center will be a collaboration between Illinois’ Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

Evan H. DeLucia, the G. William Arends Professor of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois, will serve as the center’s director.

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