The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative is providing Purdue University researchers $5 million to develop decision-support tools to help corn and soybean growers adapt their practices to changes in climate.
"Today's agricultural producers are able to grow more food on fewer acres of land to sustain a growing population," said Purdue President France A. Córdova. "Successfully meeting this challenge has been due to the industry's willingness to adopt new practices. This project will provide the technologies producers will need in the face of a changing world to plan for, and adapt to, climatic shifts."
The five-year project will be conducted by researchers affiliated with the Purdue Climate Change Research Center under the leadership of Linda Prokopy, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources. Prokopy said the first part of the project will focus on developing models that can predict how different climate scenarios would affect corn and soybean growth and profits throughout a 12-state region that stretches from the Dakotas south to Kansas and east to Ohio.
"The goal is to help producers make better long-term plans on what, when and where to plant and also how to manage the crops for maximum yields and minimal environmental damage," Prokopy said.
The best ways to deliver that information to crop producers will be the focus of the second part of the project. Prokopy said effort will be made to ensure that the information is easy to understand and distributed in ways that will give producers the most access to it.
"There are a lot of climate change projections out there, but they're not in a form that's useful for producers," she said. "There's no point in having high-quality data that is difficult for producers to use."
Purdue scientists will collaborate with others from Michigan State University, the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska, the University of Michigan and South Dakota State University.