Nick McWilliams reporting – In a profession dominated by the changing seasons and varying climate, farmers and agriculture specialists are finding ways to stay ahead of the curve.
Changing weather patterns and climate shifts leading to anything from drought-like conditions to bitter cold and blustery snow have drastic impacts on crop yields, increased production costs, and sometimes, full swings in planting and harvesting seasons.
Ohio Farm Bureau Senior Director of Policy Development and Environmental Policy Dr. Larry Antosch says that recent research shows the traditional farming calendar is a thing of the past.
“Springs are getting warmer earlier and falls are staying warmer later. So that frost-free period is increasing to the point where it’s about 9 to 10 days longer in terms of the growing season. So that temperature impact or influence really provides an opportunity, if you think about it as Ohio farmers maybe looking at double cropping.”
Even with earlier planting, increased rainfall due to higher temperatures create a challenge.
For grain farmers, higher levels of participation impact when crops can go in the ground or be harvesting, while livestock producers could have more issues putting up hay or other food sources.
“It’s almost like a catch-22. While we’re seeing a longer growing season, frost-free season, fall, and spring are getting wetter. And so we’re losing about nine field days a year in terms of being able to get out and either do the planting, the field work, or the harvesting.”
Despite the pros and cons, farmers are recognizing the need to change their approach to production, leading to an evolving agriculture business model.
To read the paper published by Dr. Antosch, Ohio Agriculture in a Changing Climate, visit www.ohiofarmbureau.org and search the word “climate.”
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