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Atlantic Agriculture in a Changing Climate David Burton, Ph.D, P.Ag Climate Change Chair NSAC.

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Presentation on theme: "Atlantic Agriculture in a Changing Climate David Burton, Ph.D, P.Ag Climate Change Chair NSAC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Atlantic Agriculture in a Changing Climate David Burton, Ph.D, P.Ag Climate Change Chair NSAC

2 Agriculture in a Changing Climate The Climate Change Issue –Mitigation of impacts on the atmosphere –Adapting to changing climatic conditions A new “climate” for agriculture –Increased scrutiny of the impacts of agriculture on the environment –Agriculture as industry Agriculture a “price-taker”

3 We Must Mitigate and Adapt Must seek to mitigate our impacts on the atmosphere –Need to minimize future impacts –For agriculture there are other environmental benefits Will not prevent climate change therefore must also focus on adaptation –Agriculture most effected by climate –Climate variability greatest challenge

4 “SWOT” Analysis Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

5 Strengths Diversity –Mixed farming systems –Increases economic stability in changing climate Resourcefulness of producer community –Atlantic producers most highly educated 43% have education beyond high school (Aubin et al., 2003).

6 Strengths Most aware of climate change issue –Of those aware of climate change issue, 68% believe producers should take responsibility for reducing GHG emissions –Most willing to undertake voluntary action Strong linkage to rural community

7 Weaknesses Profit margins –Small differences between input costs and returns increases vulnerability –High debit ratio Age of agricultural community –Average age 53 –36% intend to retire in next 5 years –Who will be our future producers?

8 Weaknesses Atlantic agriculture industry 4% of National –Sufficient support? Concentration in agricultural sector –23% corporate ownership Tools for adaptation –Currently have few tools identified –Limited research and extension capacity

9 Weaknesses Producer awareness –Only 1 in 4 producers aware of climate change or greenhouse gas issues Producer skepticism –1/3 of agriculture producers feel their will be no impact of climate change

10 Opportunities Introduction of new crops to the region –Increased corn and soybean acreage? Improved yields of existing crops –Longer growing season –CO 2 fertilization –Warmer temperatures


12 Bootsma et al., 2001


14 Shift to Corn-Soybean-Barley rotation Corn –2,300 ha @ 5.6 t/ha –$2.4 Million Soybean –3,500 ha @ 2.3 t/h –$2.0 Million Barley –55,000 ha @ 3 t/ha –$23 Million $27.4 Million Corn –30,000 ha @ 7 t/ha –$39 Million Soybean –20,000 ha @ 3.0 t/ha –$20 Million Barley –25,000ha @ 3.15 t/ha –$11 Million $70 Million 2050 1995-1998

15 Opportunities Impetus to develop risk management Linkage between adaptation and mitigation –Must address entire system –Stress co-benefits –Provide integrated solutions

16 Threats Uncertainty –Do not have good future data sets Frequency of extreme events

17 Smit et al., 2002

18 Richards, 2002

19 Threats Frequency of extreme events Economic risks –Direct - Producer and larger community –Indirect - Volatility of markets Environmental Impact

20 Threats Pests impacts –Greater numbers –Change in pest spectrum Sea-level rise –Loss of agricultural land –Salt water intrusion

21 Issues Water management –Will there be sufficient water? Too much? Other demands on water sources Ability to retain water on landscape –Water quality Potential for increased impacts on water quality Salt water intrusion on groundwater

22 Issues Economic risk management –Rationalize programs –Stable, predictable programs that can be part of long-term planning

23 Needs Improved future climate scenarios Increased understanding of vulnerability Capacity - research and extension support –Engaging the university community BIOCAP Canada Atlantic Environmental Science Network Climate Change Cooperative

24 Thank You


26 Adaptation of agricultural production to climate change in Atlantic Canada A. Bootsma, S. Gameda and D.W. McKenney Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


28 Implications… Corn 1995-1998 -> 2,327 ha of grain corn -> average yield of 5.6 t ha -1, total production of about 13,000 tonnes per year and farm value of $2.4 million per year. assume that average yields of 7 t ha -1 could be achieved by the year 2050, when CHU could typically exceed 3000 Currently over 100,000 hectares of land seeded to small grain cereals (wheat, oats, barley, mixed grain, etc.) and silage corn. Assume that at least 50% of this area would switch to corn and soybeans assume about a 60/40 split between corn and soybeans, this would project a production of over 210,000 tonnes of grain corn from over 30,000 hectares with a farm value of over $39 million by the year 2050. Bootsma et al., 2001

29 Implications…Soybeans 1990's, PEI soybean acreage averaged around 3500 ha, and yielded about 2.3 t ha -1 for a total farm value of about $2 million. If we assume 20,000 hectares under soybean production by the year 2055 with an average yield of 3.0 t ha -1, total production would be around 60,000 tonnes for a farm value of around $20 million. Bootsma et al., 2001

30 Implications…Barley 1993-1997 averaged about 55,000 ha per year An average yield of 3 t ha -1 and average price of $140 per tonne resulted in total farm production of about 165,000 tonnes for a farm value of about $23 million Assuming 25,000 hectares grown (50% reduction) with an average yield of 3.15 t ha -1 -> 79,000 tonnes of barley at a farm value of about $11 million. Bootsma et al., 2001

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