Crop Biotech Update

Climate Change Costing Soybean Farmers in the US

April 1, 2015

A study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) professor and soybean specialist Shawn Conley reveals that even on a good year, soybean farmers in the United States are taking a great loss because of changes in weather patterns. In the last 20 years, a massive US$11 billion were lost due to such changes.

The loss has been hidden by annual growth in soybean yields from other factors, but that growth could have been 30 percent higher if weather variations resulting from climate change had not occurred, according to the study. Averaging the data across the U.S., researchers found that soybean yields fell by around 2.4 percent for every one-degree rise in temperature. Because the states with the biggest yield losses are also the nation's biggest soybean producers, the national impact comes out to a 30 percent yield loss overall.

"We are still making yield gains because of breeding and other strategies, but those numbers aren't as big as they could be," says Conley.

For more information, read the news release at the UW-Madison website.