Adapting to longer-term weather trends

An ag weather and climate field specialist says farmers must continue to adapt to changing temperatures and precipitation patterns.

“When you think about temperatures, you’re thinking about mitigation of heat, so using more heat-tolerant species for instance,” he says.

Aaron Wilson with Ohio State University Extension says spring and winter temperatures are trending warmer, which can impact crops and planting and harvest windows.

He says spring and winter precipitation is increasing, while summer rainfall is decreasing.

“You can get these scenarios where you get a wet spring and a dry summer and a wet fall, and that’s exactly what we don’t want to see from a farming perspective,” he says.

To adapt to the changing conditions, Wilson says “farmers are looking at things like controlled drainage structures or thinking about carbon sequestration or cover crops and no-till. Some of those strategies are great for improving soil health, maybe increasing profitability, and mitigating the impacts of all that rain. If you have more roots in the ground, you’re slowing the progress of water from fields to streams and helping with water quality.”

Brownfield spoke with Wilson during the 2022 Farm Science Review.

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