Cluster Agriculture

The picture shows a field in the foreground. A tractor is sowing and two men are checking the sowing. In the background, a wider agricultural landscape can be seen. The sky is very dark, a thunderstorm is approaching.Click to enlarge
Agriculture
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2019 Monitoring Report on the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change

Table of Contents

 

Agriculture

Farmers have always had to respond to changing climate and weather conditions. There is a comparatively wide range of options available to them for adapting to climate change. As far as annual crops are concerned, it is usually possible to respond at short notice. The situation is more problematic, however, for farming operations involved in the cultivation of permanent crops or in livestock production as those types of farming require investment decisions for the long term.

In agriculture, a rather nuanced approach is advisable regarding the potential impacts of climate change. On one hand, there are adverse consequences to be expected for production, owing to periods of extremely dry and hot weather, heavy rain events or hailstorms. On the other, yield potentials would be increased by a moderate rise in temperatures and extended vegetation periods owing to adequate supplies of water. Besides, it is conceivable that conditions may develop which enable our farmers to cultivate crops which were previously impossible to grow in our latitudes. Impacts will vary considerably depending on prevailing crop preferences, physiogeographical circumstances and the specific climate change actually occurring regionally. Accordingly, any nationwide averages stated for Germany should be interpreted with caution.

Apart from plant production, climate change also affects the production of livestock. Losses to be expected will include areas like the production of milk, eggs and meat products owing to heat waves, drought-related shortages of basic forage and heat-related impairment of animal health. When animals are exposed to heat stress, this can reduce their fertility or the state of health of udders. It is important to remember that animals, not just humans, can be prone to infectious diseases transmitted by thermophilic pathogens. Both new and recurring pathogens can often be transmitted between animals and humans. There are close links between the health of humans, animals and the environment (One Health Concept). However, the necessary data have not yet become available on a nationwide basis.

 

Effects of climate change

New challenges from changed progress of seasonal weather patterns (LW-I-1)

Increased yield fluctuations entail higher production risks (LW-I-2)

Yield losses caused by extreme weather events (LW-I-3)

Increased pressure from harmful organisms – a distinct possibility (LW-I-4)

 

Adaptation

Adaptation of management planning (LW-R-1)

Prospects for new crop species (LW-R-2)

Different climate – different varieties (LW-R-3, LW-R-4)

Targeted application of pesticides (LW-R-5)

Irrigation becomes more lucrative (LW-R-6)