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Climate uncertainty and cereal grain production: International Colloquium

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On 9th January, a colloquium was held at ZALF, organized by the Institute of Landscape Systems Analyses (LSA) and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Dr. Claas Nendel, Acting Head of LSA, welcomed 19 ZALF scientists and the invited guests.

Dr. Frank Wechsung from PIK, research leader for regional climate impact studies, opened with a general introduction on temperature impact on wheat and the importance of the experiments conducted in Arizona and handed over to Dr. Gerard W. Wall from the US Arid-Land Agriculture Research Center for his presentation on the “Thermal Regime Agronomic Cereal Experiment (TRACE)”.

Global climate uncertainty will alter thermal regimes of Earth's major cereal grain production regions. Because semi-arid desert regions experience the widest temperature ranges, intra- and inter-annual variations in ambient temperature provide a cost effective means to obtain a robust dataset across multiple cereal grain crops simultaneously. To refine the understanding of thermal response of cereal grains at higher temperatures and assess Genotype by Environment by Management (G×E×M) interactions, it is intended to stagger planting dates, from the normal cropping season in December, to be in closer intervals during the April-June time frame.

The objectives of the research are: (1) determine cereal grain crop responses to a wide range of air temperature via planting date; (2) quantify crop growth; (3) evaluate and refine thermal response on crop growth and development; (4) validate crop growth models with regard to thermal dependent processes believed to be mediated through canopy energy balance.

The materials of study include: Wheat (Tritium aestivum L.); Durum Wheat (T. durum L.); Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.); and Triticale (T. aestivum L. × Secale cereale L.). Overall, four cereal grain crops, over eight planting dates in four replicates, over two years (intra- and inter-annual variability), will provide 256 differently treated crop responses across an air temperature ranging from -2 to 42°C. Our understanding of the adverse impact of global climate uncertainty will enable development of adaptation and mitigation strategies to ensure global food security.

Dr. Gerard W. Wall, a plant physiologist, has lead research groups in multidisciplinary broad-based investigations on the response of agronomic crops to ambient and enriched CO2 and O3 and natural and artificially imposed thermal regimes. His work has focused on the tolerance of agronomic crops to biotic and abiotic stresses. Gerald Wall cooperates with ZALF through the Agricultural Modelling Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) and pulls the modellers back to the ground when emphasizing the need for elaborated field experiments and demonstrates the efforts and pains to endure to create high-quality data sets for model improvement. Especially the understanding of high temperature impact on cereal crops is an important piece in the modelling of climate change impacts on the world’s food security.

More Information

AgMIP: project details or web site AgMIP

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