Nav: Home

RUDN agriculturists suggested an optimal strategy for growing wheat in northern Eurasia

September 18, 2018

A team from RUDN and the Italian Euromediterranean Center for Climate Change (CMCC) found out how climate changes may affect wheat harvest in high latitudes of the Earth (on the example of Russia). Agricultural conditions are expected to undergo the biggest changes in the northern part of the Eastern hemisphere. Scientists believe that in the upcoming decades the most yielding areas in the south of the country will be hit by droughts. The optimal territory for wheat and other grain crops cultivation would move north-east and also to the Far East. The study was published in the Land Use Policy journal.

In the recent years Russia has become a world leader in grain export: in 2016 it held the first place in the market after producing over 30 million of tons for sale. Wheat remains the most valuable crop for middle-latitude countries, and its harvests play an important role in the world's food safety. However, no full-scale climatic forecast covering wheat cultivation in Russian has ever been done before. This task was fulfilled by RUDN and CMCC scientists.

The researchers used the data of six climatic models: ERA-Interim (Europe, 1979-2016) and five climate change forecasts up to 2099 (GFDL-ESM3M, HadGEM2-ES, IPSL-CM5A-MR, MIROC-ESM and NorESM1-M). It turned out that global warming influenced the "well-being" of grain crops in two ways: made it easier to grow them in high latitudes (previously too cold) and at the same time increased the frequency of droughts in southern areas - currently, the main grain crop yielding territories.

The authors of the research found out that the area of lands that can be used for wheat cultivation has been increasing by about 10 million ha a decade since 1980. However, these conditions are mainly beneficial for winter varieties. In 2005-2015 their harvesting area increased by approximately 4 million ha, and in case of spring varieties it decreased by 2 million ha.

"The main, most yielding wheat areas in modern Russia are its southern territories that will become risky for agriculture in time as the frequency of droughts and extreme weather conditions is going to increase there," warns Professor Riccardo Valentini, director of Climate Change and Smart Technologies Laboratory at RUDN and the holder of Nobel peace prize of 2007 as a member of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

According to the scientists, Russian agriculture has two paths to choose from. It can re-cultivate abandoned lands, especially in Central Russia (no less than 27 million ha in total). This strategy meets climatic requirements, but would hardly work from the economic point of view: low soil quality and scarce water resources would require considerable investments in grain crops cultivation which is unlikely given current low wheat prices. RUDN scientists suggest shifting attention to north-western regions of the country and the Far East. If new varieties of wheat are developed in view of local climatic conditions, spring varieties are used, and experiments with other grain crops (millet, barley) are carried out, these regions may become the main agricultural territories of Russia.

RUDN University

Related Climate Change Articles:

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.
Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.
Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.
Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.
Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.
A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.
Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).
Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.
Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.
Could climate change cause infertility?
A number of plant and animal species could find it increasingly difficult to reproduce if climate change worsens and global temperatures become more extreme -- a stark warning highlighted by new scientific research.
More Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Sound And Silence
Sound surrounds us, from cacophony even to silence. But depending on how we hear, the world can be a different auditory experience for each of us. This hour, TED speakers explore the science of sound. Guests on the show include NPR All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly, neuroscientist Jim Hudspeth, writer Rebecca Knill, and sound designer Dallas Taylor.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer
With the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there's been a lot of debate about how much power the Supreme Court should really have. We think of the Supreme Court justices as all-powerful beings, issuing momentous rulings from on high. But they haven't always been so, you know, supreme. On this episode, we go all the way back to the case that, in a lot of ways, started it all.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at