Climate change could limit future wheat crops

Climate change could limit future wheat crops

A changeable Australian climate is likely to make it difficult to grow wheat crops in years to come, research from the University of Western Australia (UWA) found.

Rising carbon dioxide levels, higher temperatures and more varied rainfall will all culminate in a potent mixture that will mean grain growers have to adapt how they cultivate produce.

“What is new about our study is we have looked at the interactive effect of elevated CO2, high temperature and water stress from flowering, what we call terminal drought, the interactive effect on growth and yield on a number of wheat lines,” UWA Institute of Agriculture Professor Kadambot Siddique explained, as reported by ABC News.

Typically, plants of all varieties need CO2 to grow and, thus, an increase in greenhouse gasses would actually help stimulate crop output to some extent. However, when a lack of water and hot conditions are accounted for, the research found that yields could fall by as much as 50 per cent.

If climate change continues, there must be measures in place that those in agriculture can look to in efforts to keep production at an acceptable level. To that end, implementing a water conditioner from Hydrosmart can help unlock the bio-available nutrients in the resource which can support healthy crop growth.

Wheat as an industry cannot be underestimated in Western Australia. The state produces around 40 per cent of the country’s total output of the grain, of which 8.5 million tonnes are exported, according to statistics from the WA Department of Agriculture and Food.

As climate change takes hold and becomes unavoidable, those in the industry will have to do more to keep wheat crops sustainable, if the role they play within the wider economy is to be maintained for years to come.