The National Climate Assessment process directs a process with the overall goal of providing an assessment of the climate on various sectors in the United States. Climate change will affect future scenarios of temperature and precipitation coupled with the increasing levels of carbon dioxide. Agriculture is one of the large segments of the US economy with the economic value equally divided between livestock and crop production. Climate effects agricultural production of both crops and livestock and production from rangeland systems will be affected because of the changing temperature and precipitation. Increasing temperatures affect growth of grass species and cause shifts in species composition and this affects the potential carrying capacity of rangeland areas. An interesting observation from rangeland studies has been the decline in forage quality with the increasing carbon dioxide because of rapid vegetative growth outpaces the ability of the plant to extract nitrogen from the soil. Precipitation is a critical aspect in plant growth and variability in amounts will directly affect plant growth. In addition, precipitation is important for the water supply to livestock, water availability and feed availability are the two necessary components to efficient livestock production. There is a direct effect of temperature on livestock because the extremes in temperature affect both growth and reproduction. Adaptation strategies for rangeland production will consider amount and quality of the forage supply and mechanisms for protecting livestock herds from temperature extremes. Climate change will affect rangeland production systems and understanding these effects will provide insights for improved management.
Climate Effects on Agriculture: Implications for Range Management
Jerry Hatfield1, Eugene Takle2 --- 1USDA-ARS-NLAE, Ames, Iowa, USA, 2Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA