Biotech Updates

Climate Extremes Heat and Drought Reduce Crop Yields

March 29, 2023

A study conducted by researchers at Aalto University in Finland reports that from 1980 to 2009, farmers had to deal with growing seasons that were too hot and dry for their crops. The paper published in Nature also reveals that increasing heat and drought bring down crop yields globally.

Wheat growers saw the biggest change, according to the paper, with the chance of extreme heat and drought during the growing season increasing six-fold over the study period while the risk for maize, rice, and soybeans doubled. The researchers found that heat and drought conditions reduced wheat yields by about 4% overall, though some regions saw much greater reductions, such as Russia and China, both major global producers. Likewise, maize yields were about 3% lower because of hot and dry weather, but the losses were more severe in North America, Eastern Europe, and China.

"As the threat of weather extremes hurting global food production grows, we need to find ways to help farmers adapt to adverse weather conditions, and we also have to reduce the emissions causing these changes in the climate," says researcher Matias Heino, who led the study.

For more details, read the news release from Aalto University or download the paper from Nature.

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