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Adapt crops to future climatic conditions

Irrigation water use is modeled on future cotton production under changing climatic conditions, Srinivasulu Ale, Ph.D. It was one of the features of.Credits: Texas A & MAgriLife Photos

With crops, farmers adapt — they always have and always do so. However, to support this adaptation, a Texas A & M AgriLife research project used artificial intelligence modeling to determine the traits required for cultivars to succeed in changing climatic conditions.


Another goal of the project was to extend the life of the Ogallala Aquifer. To protect aquifers, it is necessary to understand how crops adapt to future planting practices, especially as climate change projections indicate that summers will be warm and dry in the future.

Toward these goals, the Texas A & M AgriLife team has completed an assessment of the impact of climate change on cotton yields and irrigation water use. “Potential genotype-based climate change adaptation strategies for sustaining cotton production on the Texas Plateau: Simulation Studies” is published in the International Field Crops Research Journal.

The project was overseen by Srinivasulu Ale, Ph.D., a geospatial hydrologist at Texas A & M Agrilife Research in Vernon. He was an associate professor at the Faculty of Bioagricultural Engineering, University of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Texas A & M.

“We know that water levels are falling, and groundwater conservation areas have already imposed limits on the amount that farmers can pump and use,” Yale said. “There are concerns that farmers may eventually have to move from irrigated farming to dryland farming to protect the Ogallala Aquifer.”

The team designed a virtual cotton cultivar with better drought and heat resistance, higher yield potential, and longer maturity.Then we compared these virtual cultivars with references Cultivars Assess the impact of climate change on the yield of cotton, the use of irrigation water, and the unique characteristics of various genotypes for adaptation to climate change.

“Dr. Yale has a worldwide reputation as a leader in resilient agriculture in response to climate change,” said Dr. Rick Beering, director of the Texas A & M Agrilife Research and Extension Center, Vernon. increase. “He has worked with many crop species, including sorghum, wheat and cotton, which provides a much broader and more resilient research program on climate adaptability.”

Simulate cotton cultivars for future knowledge

Yale said the team’s goal is to look ahead and make the following decisions based on the predictions of the global climate model. How will cotton yields change in future scenarios? And how will their potential yields vary across the High Plains, from north to south?

The project model described crop growth, development, and yield as a function of weather conditions, soil characteristics, and crop management practices. These dynamic models use the basic mechanisms of plant and soil processes to simulate crop growth and development.

“We know The temperature rises As precipitation decreases from north to south and from east to west, we investigated the varieties currently used by producers, “says Yale. Experiments that simulate the effects of climate change are very difficult. “

The project simulated cotton growth and yield under irrigated and arid conditions at three locations in the High Plains region (Bushland, Halfway and Lamesa) under 18 future climatic scenarios. ..

Joining Yale on this project was his former graduate student, Dr. Kritika Kotari, who is currently enrolled at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Jim Bordowski, AgriLife Research Agricultural Engineer, Halfway; Clyde Munster, Ph.D. And Vijay Singh, Ph.D. Both belong to the Department of Bioagricultural Engineering. Dr. John Nielsen Gamon, Texas Climatologist, Brian College Station; Gerrit Hoogenboom, Ph.D., Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville.

The model was trained using a dataset of Bordovsky historical data collected since 2011. The crop growth model complements field experiments and should be evaluated based on measurement data from the field before it can be used in an application.

Adapt crops to future climatic conditions

Seasonal irrigation water usage is expected to increase due to changing climatic conditions.Credit: Photo of Texas A & MAgri Life by Kay Ledbetter

Compared to the reference varieties, the following were evaluated in this study:

  • Two drought-tolerant varieties with altered root physical properties and soil hydraulic properties.
  • Two heat-resistant varieties with an expanded range of temperatures that are optimal for adding and distributing balls.
  • One of the potential high yield varieties with large leaves and a large distribution to seed growth.
  • One more mature variety with early flowering and long breeding season.

The crop model allows you to add input files for cultivars and opportunities to change parameters. For example, one way to enhance drought resistance is to change the root characteristics of the model. In the dry state, water-deficient plants send their roots deeper into the soil to obtain water. Therefore, the model can investigate how expansion of the root system makes a difference in withstanding drought stress.

“Let’s say you were looking for a way to overcome the negative effects of climate change by strengthening the characteristics of drought-tolerant cultivars. Are high-yielding varieties better or heat-resistant? Is it a cultivar? We use the features of the model to virtually simulate these virtual cultivars and then try to compare their performance with the reference cultivars, “says Kotari. increase.

simulation result

The simulation helped researchers make the following predictions:

  • Carbon dioxide fertilization can increase irrigated cotton yields if growing temperatures remain below optimal limits under projected climate change.
  • Seasonal irrigation water usage was projected to increase in most climate models, depending on rainfall forecasts.
  • Under dry land conditions, the beneficial effects of carbon dioxide fertilization were suppressed by temperature and water stress.

“We tested the resilience to climate change based on the yields of the six virtual cultivars and the seasonal irrigation water usage compared to the reference cultivars,” said Kotari.

High-yielding cultivars, characterized by large potential leaf size and increased distribution to seeds and shells, were desirable for the production of irrigated cotton. Long-term mature varieties with early flowering and long breeding periods have been found to be suitable for cotton production in drylands. Heat resistant cultivars are another safe choice, especially in the warm southern High Plains region.

Future plans

The evaluated model helps to assess the impact of climate change on aspects of crop production, such as crop yield, irrigation water requirements, and water utilization efficiency. Breeders can use that information to work for the future.

“This study helps breeders develop new cultivars,” says Yale. “They can adopt these guidelines and focus on cultivars that are expected to improve under future climate scenarios.”

Also, from the producer’s point of view, this information will help you plan your resources. climate Keep in mind the impact of the change. For example, in the southern region with sandy soil, crop performance is slightly different than in the northern region. Cotton production, And the breeder can start these adjustments.

The results of this study also apply to agriculture. For example, growers can time planting so that important stages of the plant do not occur during peak temperatures.

“Although there are uncertainties in the simulation, these ideas provide some guidance for both breeders and producers about what agriculture will look like in the future and what we can do to adapt to it. It’s an idea, “said Yale.


Adaptation to climate change requires new cultivars to protect food security


For more information:
Kritika Kothari et al, Potential Genotype-Based Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Maintaining Cotton Production on the Texas Plateau: Simulation Studies, Field crop research (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.fcr.2021.108261

Quote: Adapting crops to future climatic conditions (October 14, 2021) is available from https://phys.org/news/2021-10-crops-future-climate-conditions.html to October 14, 2021. Obtained on the day

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