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The growing season increases due to climate change

Over the last few decades, climate change has been the subject of great debate amongst Americans.

From politicians and big-businesses, to environmentalists and every-day citizens. It seems we’re all concerned, or at least well-aware, of the possible impacts climate change can have on the future of our great nation.

Climate change is not a new theory, as Earth’s climate has continued to evolve throughout history.

NASA reports that, “Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization.”

NASA also reports that Earth’s surface temperature has gone up about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century (January 1801 – December 1900).

But what does this mean for growers throughout the industry?

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln recently conducted a study on data collected from the year 1900 until 2014 for a region-by-region composite of how climate change has affected agricultural timelines.

Their findings concluded that in the past century, climate change has extended the average U.S. growing season by nearly two weeks.

According to Suat Irmak, Eberhard Distinguished Professor of Biological Systems Engineering and the co-author of the study, “If you have a longer growing season, you can cultivate longer-maturing crops that yield more than shorter-season crops.

But doing that is going to require more water, more nitrogen, perhaps more insecticide, herbicide and fungicide — all these inputs that go into growing crops. More analyses are needed to determine the viability and economics of growing longer-season crops in different regions.”

115 years of reliable data doesn’t lie. What overall impact this will have on growers and farmers across the U.S. and the world will certainly be debated almost as much as the subject of climate change itself.

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