Climate change impact on agriculture
Del artikel Print

Climate change impact on agriculture

For Danish agriculture, the overall effects of impacts of climate change are estimated to be advantageous. Changes in cultivation practice can be implemented at short notice and production is expected to grow with rising temperature,  CO2 concentrations and a longer growing season.

However, this could also bring about an increased and altered need for plant protection based on altered disease and insect patterns and an increased need for fertilizer and the consequent risk of runoff into the water. Greater winter precipitation will increase the risk of nitrogen and phosphorus leaching into the aquatic environment and combined with higher water temperatures, this could mean a greater risk of oxygen depletion. Increased winter precipitation and rising water levels will in some places cause flooding or such high ground water levels that agricultural exploitation may be difficult to maintain. This may be the case along a number of fjords and watercourses. Higher summer temperatures and longer periods of drought may increase the need for irrigation of sandy soils, which may affect the flow in watercourses.

Short term adaptation can optimize production under given conditions. Long term adaptation is expected to involve changes in agriculture's structure, technology and land use, irrigation systems, etc, as well as development and adaptation of new species and types of crops.

Research and development efforts are expected to support development and implementation of new forms of production and technologies that can contribute to exploiting the new possibilities for greater productivity while ensuring that agriculture can meet the requirements of low environmental impact and high food safety. Such research and development activity should take expected climate changes into account and incorporate new research areas relevant to climate changes.

Dissemination of the current knowledge on the nature and extent of climate changes for both the agricultural business and the associated research and consulting sector such as the administrative/political level will be important, so that relevant climate change adaptation measures can be incorporated in ongoing adaptation and regulations in the sector. It is important that research, development and consulting within the sector include awareness that changes in the basic climatic conditions mean that older data and experience should be used with caution.

Climate change and increased CO2 content in the atmosphere up to 2050 are expected to increase the yield level of many agricultural crops by 10-15%. However, there will probably also be increased costs for fertilizer and pesticides. Increased yields may also be less than expected as a result of the need for increased restrictions on use of fertilizers and pesticides out of concern for nature and the aquatic environment. There may also be restrictions on cultivation of low-lying areas and on irrigation in dry summers, which will reduce the advantages in these areas.