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Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen


Institute for Crop and Soil Science

Inhalt: Changing Climate - Adaptations in Crop Production

Agriculture is more dependent on weather conditions than any other sector in economy. Higher temperatures, the changing distribution of precipitation and weather extremes are major challenges for agricultural production.

It is one research task to develop new cultivation concepts and adapting the cultivation spectrum of agricultural crops to changing climatic conditions.

Limiting factor water

One of the most important yield-limiting factors for agricultural crop production is water. In regions where irrigation is not possible, farmers rely on crop types and varieties that can manage to grow with less water.

The institute uses so-called rainout shelters to simulate future (drier) climate scenarios, as these facilities are able to close their rooftop-shutters in the event of precipitation. Our institute tests varieties of different crops in different cultivation systems for their adaptability to drought.

CO2-fertilization effect?

One of the main causes of climate change is the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, this does not only have negative effects: Plant growth is promoted by higher CO2 concentrations in the air, and the water use efficiency can increase.

However, the higher CO2 content has a negative effect on product quality for example, the protein content of cereals decreases.

Our institute uses a FACE (Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment) system to investigate how increasing CO2 concentrations affect plant growth, yield, quality, and plant-pathogen interactions under field conditions.

Point of interest is here how varieties or genotypes differ in terms of their response and which plant traits will be important in the future.

Climate trend monitoring – decision assistance before it gets urgent

The influence of weather conditions varies across regions, even in Germany. With the support of satellites, vegetation conditions can be observed throughout Germany. This allows to develop early warning systems for events like droughts, and to identify regions that are expected to be severely affected by climate change.