20
Tue, Feb

Northeast Farmers Weigh Warming Climate, Drenched Fields

Typography

Farmers in the Northeast are adapting to longer growing seasons and warming climate conditions – but they may face spring-planting whiplash as they confront fields increasingly saturated with rain, according to a research paper published in the journal Climatic Change.

Farmers in the Northeast are adapting to longer growing seasons and warming climate conditions – but they may face spring-planting whiplash as they confront fields increasingly saturated with rain, according to a research paper published in the journal Climatic Change.

“Climate change can easily intensify agricultural susceptibility, but also presents fresh, surprising opportunities,” said David Wolfe, professor of plant and soil ecology at Cornell University and senior author of the paper.

For the past two decades, the Northeast has been getting warmer for longer periods of time. It also has seen a 71 percent increase in the frequency of extreme precipitation events – more than any other region in the United States, according to the paper. Heavy rainfall, for example, increases the likelihood of diseases such as potato and tomato late blight, along with plant-root fungal problems that stress carrots and other root vegetables.

“Heavy rains not only cause disease problems, but can prevent farmers from having access to the fields to plant in spring or to harvest in fall,” Wolfe said.

Read more at Cornell University

Photo credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli via Wikimedia Commons