Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Adapting wheat sowing dates to projected climate change in the Australian subtropics: analysis of crop water use and yield

Davide Cammarano A F G , José Payero B , Bruno Basso A C D , Lydia Stefanova E and Peter Grace A D

A Institute for Sustainable Resources, Queensland University of Technology, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.

B The University of Queensland, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), 203 Tor St, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia; Current address: Irrigation Research and Extension, Edisto Research and Education Center, Clemson University, 64 Research Road, Blackville, SC 29817, USA.

C Dept. of Geological Sciences and W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, Natural Science Bldg, 288 Farm Lane, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA.

D W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University, Hickory Corners, MI 49060, USA.

E Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA.

F Current address: Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.

G Corresponding author. Email: davide.cammarano@ufl.edu

Crop and Pasture Science 63(10) 974-986 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/CP11324
Submitted: 5 December 2011  Accepted: 24 September 2012   Published: 13 November 2012

Abstract

Projected increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) and air temperature associated with future climate change are expected to affect crop development, crop yield, and, consequently, global food supplies. They are also likely to change agricultural production practices, especially those related to agricultural water management and sowing date. The magnitude of these changes and their implications to local production systems are mostly unknown. The objectives of this study were to: (i) simulate the effect of projected climate change on spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Lang) yield and water use for the subtropical environment of the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia; and (ii) investigate the impact of changing sowing date, as an adaptation strategy to future climate change scenarios, on wheat yield and water use. The multi-model climate projections from the IPCC Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) for the period 2030–2070 were used in this study. Climate scenarios included combinations of four changes in air temperature (0°C, 1°C, 2°C, and 3°C), three [CO2] levels (380 ppm, 500 ppm, and 600 ppm), and three changes in rainfall (–30%, 0%, and +20%), which were superimposed on observed station data. Crop management scenarios included a combination of six sowing dates (1 May, 10 May, 20 May, 1 June, 10 June, and 20 June) and three irrigation regimes (no irrigation (NI), deficit irrigation (DI), and full irrigation (FI)). Simulations were performed with the model DSSAT 4.5, using 50 years of daily weather data. We found that: (1) grain yield and water-use efficiency (yield/evapotranspiration) increased linearly with [CO2]; (2) increases in [CO2] had minimal impact on evapotranspiration; (3) yield increased with increasing temperature for the irrigated scenarios (DI and FI), but decreased for the NI scenario; (4) yield increased with earlier sowing dates; and (5) changes in rainfall had a small impact on yield for DI and FI, but a high impact for the NI scenario.

Additional keywords: climate change, crop modelling, crop water stress, evapotranspiration, irrigation requirements, water use efficiency, wheat.


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