Drought affects european maize and wheat yields more than heat

12 October 2018: In an article published today in Nature Communications it has been shown that drought impacts on European maize and wheat yields remain more important than heat effects, also under climate change. The study was coordinated by Heidi Webber (ZALF Müncheberg), researchers of the agronomy division contributed to it.

For the first time, three impacts of high temperatures on crop yields were tested by applying 10 different crop models: (i) lower radiation interception by accelerated plant development (ii) direct damage by extreme heat, (iii) higher water requirement and drought stress under high temperature. The results show that the high evaporation rate which occurs on hot days was the most important impact. If crop varieties and planting dates remain the same, the results suggest that the European mean yields of grain maize will decrease, while those of winter wheat will increase. The study also suggests that in extremely dry years increasing atmospheric CO2 will be of no benefit in protecting against losses from drought.

Link to article in Nature Communications
Link to the press release of the Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF)

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