Resilient Agriculture: Weather Ready Farms

Resilient Agriculture

Weather Ready Farms

By: Tyler Williams, Hans Schmitz, & Martha Shulski

ATTRIBUTIONS

Resilient Agriculture: Weather Ready Farms

Copyright © Williams, T., Schmitz, H., and Shulski, M. 2022, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). Published by Extension Foundation.

ISBN: 978-1-7340417-4-3

Publish Date: 6/2/2022

Citations for this publication may be made using the following:

Williams, T., Schmitz, H., and Shulski, M. (2022). Resilient Agriculture: Weather Ready Farms 1st ed., 1st rev.). Kansas City: Extension Foundation. ISBN: 978-1-7340417-4-3.

Producer: Ashley S. Griffin Peer Review Coordinator: Heather Martin Technical Implementer: Henrietta Ritchie and Rose Hayden-Smith

Welcome to Resilient Agriculture: Weather Ready Farms, a publication created for the Cooperative Extension Service and published by the Extension Foundation.

This work is supported by the New Technologies for Agriculture Extension (NTAE) grant no. 2019-41595- 30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information please contact: Extension Foundation c/o Bryan Cave LLP One Kansas City Place

1200 Main Street, Suite 3800 Kansas City, MO 64105-2122 https://extension.org/

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Attributions ............................................................................................................................................. 2

Table of Contents..................................................................................................................................... 3

Authors and Contributors......................................................................................................................... 5

Resilient Agriculture: Weather Ready Farms Overview ............................................................................. 7 Need for Climate and Weather Resiliency in Agriculture................................................................................................... 7 Why Weather Ready Farms? .............................................................................................................................................. 8 Overview of Climate and Weather.......................................................................................................... 10 Climate of the Plains and Midwest ................................................................................................................................... 12 Climate Change ................................................................................................................................................................. 15 Historical Climate Trends of the Plains and Midwest....................................................................................................... 17 Climate Projections ........................................................................................................................................................... 20 Climate Change Perceptions and Social Science .............................................................................................................. 21 Farmer Risk Overview ............................................................................................................................ 23 Losses to Extreme Events: Drought .................................................................................................................................. 25 Losses to Extreme Events: Wind....................................................................................................................................... 26 Losses to Extreme Events: Flood ...................................................................................................................................... 26 Losses to Extreme Events: Hail ......................................................................................................................................... 28 Losses to Extreme Events: Frost/Freeze........................................................................................................................... 29 Losses to Extreme Events: Others .................................................................................................................................... 30 Nutrient Losses ................................................................................................................................................................. 30 Soil Losses ......................................................................................................................................................................... 31 Risk from Climate Change................................................................................................................................................. 32 Climate Change: Extreme Events...................................................................................................................................... 33 Climate Change: Pests ...................................................................................................................................................... 33 Climate Change: Water..................................................................................................................................................... 34 Farmer Resources Overview................................................................................................................... 37 Best Practices for Reducing Risk ....................................................................................................................................... 37 Best Agronomic Management Practices .......................................................................................................................... 38 Nutrient Management ...................................................................................................................................................... 39 Pest Management............................................................................................................................................................. 40 Weather and Climate Data for Decision Tools ................................................................................................................. 42

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Best Economic Management Practices ............................................................................................................................ 43 Crop Insurance Products................................................................................................................................................... 44 Other USDA Programs ...................................................................................................................................................... 46 Weather Ready Farms Overview ............................................................................................................ 48 WRF Market Research ...................................................................................................................................................... 49 WRF Self-Assessment ....................................................................................................................................................... 50 WRF Education.................................................................................................................................................................. 51 WRF Verification ............................................................................................................................................................... 51 WRF Certification .............................................................................................................................................................. 52 WRF Next Steps ................................................................................................................................................................ 53

Welcome to Weather Ready Farms!

The content of this publication is broken down into sections for ease of use. Those sections include the overview, an analysis of weather, climate, and climate change in the Plains and Midwest, a summary of the risks farms undertake, some resources farmers have available, and the Weather Ready Farms Model for use and adaptation to your specific region. As you proceed through the sections, consider the weather risks, how management practices mitigate or exacerbate a risk, and how to reward weather resiliency through management where you are.

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AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS

Publication Authors for all five chapters:

Tyler Williams

Hans Schmitz

Production Research Scientist, Bayer Crop Science

County Extension Director, Purdue University

Contact/Biography

Former Extension Educator, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, focusing on climate and weather impacts on agriculture

Martha Shulski

Applied Climatologist | State Climatologist | Director, Nebraska State Climate Office, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Contact/Biography

Contributors:

Ashley Mueller

Dannele Peck

Disaster Education Coordinator, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Director, USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub

Contact/Biography

Contact/Biography

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Dennis Todey

Natalie Umphlett

Director, Midwest Climate Hub

Regional Climatologist, High Plains Regional Climate Center

Contact/Biography

Contact/Biography

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RESILIENT AGRICULTURE: WEATHER READY FARMS OVERVIEW

The Resilient Agriculture: Weather Ready Farms publication was created to help the agricultural industry become more resilient to weather extremes, climate variability and climate change. It is based on the Weather Ready Farms model developed by Nebraska Extension. The focus is primarily on field crop farms and producers in the Great Plains and Midwest regions of the United States. Many of the concepts and discussions within this publication can be utilized and adapted for other regions and agricultural operations.

No-till soybeans planted into corn residue in south central Nebraska. Photo courtesy of David Keto, University of Wyoming, 2017

Climate Change and Agricultural Extension

Need for Climate and Weather Resiliency in Agriculture

The weather is usually the first conversation topic between agricultural operators in the Midwest and Great Plains. Not only does the weather change from day to day and provide new talking points, it also impacts farming operations and livelihoods. The weather during the season can be one of the largest factors affecting

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profitability and on-farm losses, such as devastating hail or drought. Olen and Auld (2018) showed that 85% of U.S. crop losses are caused by weather. Utilizing weather and climate resilient practices and strategies can lessen the impact.

In what year did you experience the most crop loss in your area? Was a single event the cause?

REFERENCES Olen, B., & Auld, S. (2018). A roadmap for assessing relative risks for agricultural production. Choices, Quarter 4. http://www.choicesmagazine.org/choices-magazine/submitted-articles/a-roadmap-for-assessing-relative-risks-for- agricultural-production

Why Weather Ready Farms?

In 2015, Nebraska Extension set out to address the impacts that extreme weather and climate variability have on agriculture. This is an important and challenging topic due to the extreme variability in our weather and climate, as well as the diversity of agricultural operations. Through many discussions with stakeholders, the team developed a program that would reduce the whole-farm risk to losses from weather events. Over and over, the risk reducing strategies discussed with farmers primarily dealt with the day-to-day (or season- to-season) weather variations and extremes. The goal for Nebraska Extension was to create a model for enhancing, and rewarding, weather and climate resiliency on farms through multiple engagements, not a one-time workshop or publication. A single engagement with a stakeholder is highly unlikely to accomplish the changes necessary to make farms more resilient. Additionally, each operation is unique, and this program allows for local and regional differences in recommended farming practices.

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Saturated early-season corn in southeast Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Tyler Williams, University of Nebraska, 2015.

The Weather Ready Farms (WRF) program was created and initially focused on cropping systems, specifically the common corn-soybean rotation. The WRF program model uses a state- or region-specific self- assessment to provide recommendations to producers and gauge their current “weather - readiness.” This is the st arting point to a longer discussion, and larger program, to enhance the resiliency of the producer’s operation. There is opportunity to expand this model to other regions and agricultural sectors (beef, swine, etc.), and this publication will help serve as a guide. Feedback is welcome on the guide and any suggestions for improvement. We are hoping that you will share challenges and successes of using this guide for your programming.

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OVERVIEW OF CLIMATE AND WEATHER

A metaphor used to distinguish weather from climate holds that weather is your mood and climate is your personality.

A metaphor used to distinguish weather from climate holds that weather is your mood and climate is your personality. Weather represents the day-to-day state of the atmosphere (e.g., air temperature, moisture, wind speed), whereas climate represents an average of those day-to-day weather conditions over a longer period of time (usually 30 years). Weather is determined by factors such as the position of the jet stream and areas of high and low pressure. Differences in temperature and moisture around the globe act to drive these factors. As such, the atmosphere is a dynamic component to our climate system.

https://youtu.be/e0vj-0imOLw

Climate is a comprehensive look at the weather and tells the range of weather conditions one might experience in a given location. There are several factors that determine our climate in the Plains and Midwest of the United States. Our mid-latitude location results in seasonal differences of incoming solar radiation. We are at a continental location rather than near an ocean, which keeps temperatures more variable on a day-to-day basis and throughout the year. Prevailing winds are from west to east; therefore, weather systems move in this general direction across the region. We are also under the influence of the jet stream and how wavy it is, whether it brings warmer southerly air (which another term is, having the same temperature and humidity properties) or colder northerly air. Regional-scale factors also influence our climate. Within the central U.S., features such as the Great Lakes can modify the regional climate conditions for portions of surrounding states, most notably perhaps with lake-effect snow.

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We often rely on forecasted weather conditions, which are predictions made from one hour to ten days into the future. This provides us with expected high and low temperatures as well as amount and/or probability of precipitation, wind direction and speed, humidity levels, and other variables from which to base our decisions (Figure 1). Past this timeframe, we rely on climate outlooks that provide strictly a probability of above- or below-average conditions, rather than a specific value (Figure 2). In the case of an outlook, there is usually too much uncertainty in these model predictions to provide an amount of precipitation, but rather a trend (wetter or drier than average). These outlooks are often relied on for farm management decisions made at the seasonal scale, or several months to a year into the future.

Figure 1 - Weather forecast map example, showing position of low and high pressure areas, fronts, and possible precipitation.

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Figure 2 - Climate outlook example, showing the probability of below normal (blue) and above normal (red) temperatures for the month of April, 2020. The area in white represents equal chances (probability) of having above, near, or below normal temperatures. Similar outlooks are available for precipitation conditions

Climate of the Plains and Midwest

Due to specific factors that control our regional climate, much of the Plains and Midwest experience a humid continental type. Continental climates are classified as such because of their warm or hot summers and cold winters. Southern portions of the region (Kansas, most of Missouri, southern half of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio) are warm enough that they are classified as a humid subtropical climate type. The western reaches of the Plains (eastward side of the Rockies, non-mountainous but higher altitude) experience a drier climate type known as semi-arid or steppe. A distinctive feature of this region is the marked east to west gradient in precipitation and humidity. On average, the Midwest receives twice as much precipitation on an annual basis when compared to the western High Plains. Precipitation is highest (40-50 inches) in the humid subtropical areas of eastern Kansas, most of Missouri and southern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The precipitation gradient is strongest for Kansas

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and Nebraska with a 50% reduction in the annual average total. Meanwhile, the western High Plains averages 12-16 inches per year. There are distinct wet and dry seasons with precipitation peaking in spring and summer and reaching a minimum in winter.

Figure 3 - Average annual precipitation (inches) for the period 1981 – 2010. Source: http://www.prism.oregonstate.edu/normals/

Annual average temperatures have a general latitudinal gradient of colder in the north (around 38°F along northern North Dakota and Minnesota) and warmer in the south (mid 50s). Typically, January is the coldest month of the year and July is the warmest month. The growing season (time of year when temperatures continuously stay above freezing) is longer in the south (mid-April to mid-October) and shorter in the north (mid-May to mid-September).

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Figure 4 - Average January low temperature (°F) for the period 1981 – 2010. Source: http://www.prism.oregonstate.edu/normals/

Figure 5 - Average July high temperature (°F) for the period 1981 – 2010. Source: Northwest Alliance for Computational Science & Engineering. (2020). 30-Year normals. Prism Climate Group. http://www.prism.oregonstate.edu/normals/

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Year-to-year variability in both temperature and precipitation is high for this region. Drought and flood are both common occurrences. Sometimes conditions can change quickly from one extreme to another. For example, portions of the Missouri Basin were impacted with heavy snowfall, rain, and flooding during 2011, while the following year (2012) was characterized by widespread drought conditions and anomalous warmth.

What type of operation do you have?

REFERENCES Kottek, M., Grieser, J., Beck, C., Rudolf, B., & Rubel, F. (2006). World map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated. World Maps of Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification. http://koeppen-geiger.vu-wien.ac.at/present.htm

Climate Change

Our climate varies naturally as a result of large-scale pattern shifts in the ocean and/or atmosphere. One such example is El Niño and La Niña, phases in ocean circulation and associated atmospheric patterns in the equatorial Pacific that have ramifications on the weather globally. These events cycle and are short-lived, lasting on the order of a few months to a few years. We also experience changes in our climate due to other factors, such as volcanic eruptions that temporarily cool the global average temperature. Humans influence the climate by altering the environment (building and expanding urban infrastructure, irrigating crop fields) and emitting greenhouse gases. There is a naturally-occurring greenhouse effect in which gases in our atmosphere, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane, absorb and re-emit thermal energy. Water vapor and carbon dioxide keep atmospheric temperatures ~60°F warmer than if these gases were not present – a good thing as life on Earth would not be possible without this greenhouse effect! However, due to an artificial buildup of greenhouse gases, largely from fossil fuel combustion, the natural carbon cycle is not able to keep up and is therefore out of balance. As such, global average temperatures are on the rise and causing shifts in not only temperature, but precipitation regimes, more extreme drought and flood events, heat waves and storms. Over the last century, the earth has warmed about 1.5°F, however there is regional variability to the rate of warming. The overall warming has caused local and regional changes including setting more heat than cold records. Precipitation is changing with wet areas getting wetter, and dry areas getting drier, sea levels are rising, and frozen regions of the world are melting, particularly in the Arctic. Primary ways that the agricultural sector can mitigate its impact on the climate is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, increase efficiency and resource management, sequester more carbon in the soil, and improve soil health.

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Image of change in growing season length by state. Source: https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/appendix-3/

Image of trend in land area experiencing extreme precipitation events over time. Source: https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/10/

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Image of native prairie strips into row cropping system. Source: https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/21/

Do you think you have personally felt the impact of climate change?

Historical Climate Trends of the Plains and Midwest

There are reliable and systematic climate observations that date back to before the turn of the last century. Analyses of these data indicate that the Plains and Midwest have warmed on an annual average basis by about 1°F to 1.5°F since 1900. The trend is strongest during the winter and at night. Summer temperature trends show that southern portions of the region are cooling slightly whereas northern and western portions are warming. Temperature extremes have shifted such that the cold events are becoming less cold, by several degrees, as well as less frequent while the long-term change in warm temperature extremes show an overall cooling. The warmth of the 1930s partly attributes to this seemingly reduction in extreme warm days. In addition, studies also point to the increase in agricultural intensity altering atmospheric water vapor content through increased evapotranspiration is attributing to this trend. Precipitation in the area has seen a general increase in the annual averages by about 10-15% over the past century. The trends are strongest and most pronounced during spring and fall with an increase of 15% for much of the region. Winter and summer trends are more variable in the Plains and Midwest with some portions getting wetter, some getting drier. Heavy precipitation events are generally on the rise across the region.

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Figure 6 - Observed changes in annual, winter, and summer temperature (°F). Changes are the difference between the average for present-day (1986 – 2016) and the average for the first half of the last century (1901-1960). Source: https://science2017.globalch

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Figure 7 - Annual and seasonal changes in precipitation over the United States. Changes are the average for present-day (1986 – 2015) minus the average for the first half of the last century (1901 – 1960). Source: https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/7/

What changes have you seen in your area?

REFERENCES Vose, R. S., Easterling, D. R., Kunkel, K. E,. LeGrande, A. N., & Wehner, M. F. (2017). Temperature changes in the United States. Wuebbles, D. J., Fahey, D. W., Hibbard, K. A., Dokken, D. J. Stewart, B. C., & Maycock, T .K. (Eds.). Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 185-206, doi: 10.7930/J0N29V45.

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Climate Projections

As we can use simulations to forecast the weather, we can also run climate models to understand how our climate will change in the future. Climate projections are available for the next decade through the end of the century (2100). By investigating different scenarios of greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere, we can assess our pathways of future climate, and identify associated impacts. The reason for differing scenarios is the uncertainty associated with human behavior and climate mitigation efforts. According to the simulations, annual average temperatures for this region are projected to be about 4°F warmer than the current averages (1976-2005) by mid-century (2050) and as much as 9°F warmer by the end of the century (2090). This would mean that the average annual temperature for Des Moines, IA would be like that of present-day Topeka, KS in 2050 and Stillwater, OK by 2090. The warmest days of the year will see a temperature increase by about 7°F by mid-century and the number of days warmer than 90°F will double. The area will gain about 30 days in the growing season length as the number of days we stay above freezing will increase. As the region has experienced an increase in precipitation over time, this trend is projected to continue into the future. Climate models predict winter and spring precipitation to increase by 10-15% across much of the Plains and Midwest by mid-century, relative to the current respective averages. Summer conditions will be drier overall, with a reduction of about 10%. Fall is projected to be slightly wetter (drier in Kansas and much of Missouri), with the least amount of certainty in these seasonal projections. Heavy rain events are projected to increase in intensity across the region. Even though the region is projected to get wetter overall, this will be punctuated by drought events.

Image of the change in growing season length at the middle of the century using a high emissions scenario. Source: https://scenarios.globalchange.gov/loca-viewer/

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Image of the change in the annual number of days with precipitation greater than the 99th percentile at the middle of the century using a high emissions scenario. Source: https://scenarios.globalchange.gov/loca-viewer/

What is the biggest climate-related challenge for your operation?

Climate Change Perceptions and Social Science

Surveys of the American public are performed regularly to gage perceptions on our changing climate. A majority of those surveyed agree with the statement that global warming is happening and humans are the primary cause. There is a disconnect, however, when it comes to the question of whether people feel that it impacts them personally. Science shows that climate change is real and here now, impacting all of us. However, there is a gap with scientific understanding and public perception. Climate is what drives the weather events we experience and also represents how climate change is manifested. Shifts and changes in weather extremes are a way in which we ‘feel’ climate change. Often it is the extremes (such as heat waves, droughts and floods) that are more impactful than changes in the averages. Social science research points out that framing discussion around our changing climate is paramount for successful dialog. Communication that highlights extreme weather, efficient resource management, health, and economics are some ways in which we can all come together on this paramount topic.

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Where do you think you fall on the six America’s scale for concern on global warming?

Alarmed

Concerned

Cautious

Disengaged

Doubtful

Dismissive

REFERENCES Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. (2020). Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. (2020). About the six America’s. Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/about/projects/global-warmings-six-americas/

Watch: Resource: Video on Six Americas Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. (2018, February 12). What are global warming’s six Americas? [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/ccze5kyyxNU

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FARMER RISK OVERVIEW

Although weather and climate change are most directly risks to production, the effects of adverse weather can be indirectly felt in any risk category.

Agriculture has many risks that can be broken into categories based on the source of the risk: production risk, marketing risk, financial risk, human risk, and legal risk. Although weather and climate change are most directly risks to production, the effects of adverse weather can be indirectly felt in any risk category. According to the article from Purdue University, Center for Food and Agricultural Business. (n,.d.,), production risk is the most important source of risk for most farmers in their sample. Climate risk is a term often discussed as there is increased risk due to changing weather variability and extremes. The capacity of a farm to be resilient to future climate risk, in addition to many other sources of risk, is important to their longevity and success. Examples include: changing cultivars, increasing farm or crop-rotation diversity, or planting longer season varieties.

Producer perceptions of agricultural risk in 2017. Center for Food and Agricultural Business. Source: https://agribusiness.purdue.edu/producer-perceptions-of-agricultural-risk-in-2017/

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Lengnick, L. (2018). Cultivating climate resilience on farms and ranches. Grants and Education to Advance Sustainable Agriculture-Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education. Source: https://www.sare.org/Learning- Center/Bulletins/Cultivating-Climat

What is the greatest risk to farms in the future?

REFERENCES Center for Food and Agricultural Business. (n,.d,.). Producer perceptions of agricultural risk in 2017. Center for Food and Agricultural Business. https://agribusiness.purdue.edu/producer-perceptions-of-agricultural-risk-in-2017/

Megalos, M., Monroe, M., & Needham Bode, C. (2016, April). Risk perception and needs: Defining Extension’s climate change adaptation role [Fact sheet FOR335]. University of Florida IFAS Extension. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr403

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Losses to Extreme Events: Drought

Drought is one weather risk that nearly all agricultural operations must deal with and it can have significant impact on production. From 1989 to 2018, the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) issued a total of $48.1 trillion in indemnity payments for drought-related losses on all covered commodities in the United States (USDA Risk Management Agency (n.d.)). Agricultural drought is influenced by precipitation shortages, reduced water availability (topsoil, ground, or surface), and differences between actual and potential evapotranspiration, among other variables, as it relates to the needs of the plant or crop.

Drought damage on corn. Photo courtesy of Vicki Jedlicka, University of Nebraska, 2012

REFERENCES National Drought Mitigation Center. (2020). Types of drought [Website]. University of Nebraska. https://drought.unl.edu/Education/DroughtIn-depth/TypesofDrought.aspx

USDA Risk Management Agency. (n.d.). AgRisk viewer [Website]. USDA Southwest Climate Hub and ARS Jornada Experimental Range. https://swclimatehub.info/rma/rma-data-viewer.html

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Losses to Extreme Events: Wind

Another concern for producers is crop loss due to extreme wind events or thunderstorms. Severe wind storms can cause crop loss by breaking or leaning plants over or by causing the fruit of the plant to fall off. Wind can also influence plant growth and productivity by altering evapotranspiration, turbulence, or soil loss and deposition. In 2019, the NOAA Storm Prediction Center recorded over 16,000 wind reports in the United States, which was the most since 2011.

Center pivot flipped by strong winds. Photo courtesy of National Weather Service, 2017

REFERENCES NOAA / National Weather Service. (2018, February 28). Severe weather event summaries [Website]. National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center. https://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/#reports

OSU Extension Service. (n.d.). Environmental factors affecting plant growth [Website]. Oregon State University. https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/techniques/environmental-factors-affecting-plant-growth

Losses to Extreme Events: Flood

Flooding can cause severe crop and infrastructure loss and damage as well as prevent crops from being planted altogether, which was evident across a large portion of the United States in 2019. Flooded soils can reduce the oxygen available to plants, disrupting necessary plant functions, such as photosynthesis and

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nutrient uptake. The duration of flooded conditions plays a large role in plant survival. For corn, flooding that lasts longer than four days, especially in warm conditions, greatly reduces the chances of survival. Soils that have been flooded can also experience severe nutrient loss, remain too saturated for planting, and can have surface characteristics altered, such as sand or sediment deposits, which reduce plant productivity.

https://youtu.be/30OPitPetOw

Flooded fields and roads in eastern Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Market Journal, 2019.

REFERENCES Bendorf, J., & Licht, M. (2019). Flooding impacts on corn growth & development. Integrated Crop Management, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/encyclopedia/flooding-impacts-corn-growth- development

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PBS News Hour. (2019, April 11). For some Nebraska farmers, devastating floods threaten their livelihood [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30OPitPetOw

Losses to Extreme Events: Hail

Hail causes in excess of $1 billion in economic losses each year to communities and industries, with the epicenter of hail events in the Great Plains. Most hail events occur in late-spring and early summer, which is when many row crops are rapidly growing. Late-season hail events can be especially impactful because crops are mature and may damage easily, plus there is very little growing season left to plant a new crop. The timing of a hail event determines the recovery process and damage evaluation. For early season damage, waiting for a week to assess the damage may be necessary in order to determine actual plant death. If plants do survive, other challenges, such as pest or disease pressure, may appear later in the season. It does not take large hail to cause impacts. Small hail, often in combination with very strong winds, can also cause significant damage.

Hail damage to corn in south central Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Tyler Williams, University of Nebraska, 2018

REFERENCES Crop Watch. (2020). Hail know [Website]. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska- Lincoln. https://cropwatch.unl.edu/hailknow

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UNL CropWatch. (2016, April 28). UNL 7-day time lapse of corn recovery from hail damage [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/MOcNK4mVAWY

Losses to Extreme Events: Frost/Freeze

From 1989-2018, USDA-Risk Management Agency paid just over $4 billion in indemnity payments for commodity losses due to a freeze. The risk of having frost and freeze damage is highly dependent on time of year, crop type, stage of development, and duration. Frost conditions can change within a field and are influenced by topography, with lower elevations in the field having the highest risk. The critical temperature often discussed for corn and soybean damage is 28°F for freeze damage and 30°F-36°F for frost damage, but other crops, especially specialty crops, may have different thresholds and impact. Frost damage may show some symptoms, but freeze damage may cause plant death. Frost and freeze statistics are used to calculate risk of reaching these temperature thresholds on certain days of the year. Changes to these dates for frost and freeze risk pose additional challenges to crop producers.

What weather event causes the greatest loss to agriculture in your area?

Drought

Wind

Hail

Flood

Frost/Freeze

Other

REFERENCES Hoegemeyer, T. (2014, September 14). Frost/freeze effects on corn and soybean [Website]. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. https://cropwatch.unl.edu/frostfreeze-effects-corn-and-soybean MacKellar, B. (2014, May 16). Potential for frost damage in early emerged corn and soybean [Website]. MSU Extension, Michigan State University. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/potential_for_frost_damage_in_early_emerged_corn_and_soybeans

USDA Risk Management Agency. (n.d.). AgRisk viewer [Website]. USDA Southwest Climate Hub and ARS Jornada Experimental Range. https://swclimatehub.info/rma/rma-data-viewer.html

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Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC). (2020, May 6). GIS tool [Website]. Vegetation Impact Program, MRCC. https://mrcc.illinois.edu/gismaps/freeze_guidance.htm

Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC). (n,d,) Frost and freeze guidance [Website]. Vegetation Impact Program, MRCC. https://mrcc.illinois.edu/VIP/indexFFG.html

Losses to Extreme Events: Others

Other losses such as tornadoes, heat waves, and cold waves can cause damage and losses to crops and farms more broadly. The risk of having at least one of these events cause damage in an area is quite high due to the extreme and variable nature of the weather that makes up a region’s climate.

Image of Crop Circle

Nutrient Losses

Wet soils, excess rainfall, and warming soil temperatures all contribute to nutrient losses in cropland. These nutrients are either lost to groundwater, surface water, the atmosphere, or below the rootzone and out of reach by the plants. In addition to the direct economic loss of nutrients and potentially reduced crop yield, these losses have an environmental impact. Reducing these losses therefore provides an economical and environmental benefit. REFERENCES Irmak, S. (2014). Plant growth and yield as affected by wet soil conditions due to flooding or over-irrigation. NebGuide (G1904). University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension.

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Runoff Risk Forecasts Available in The Midwest. (n.d.). Run-off risk tool [Website]. http://runoffrisk.info/

Soil Losses

Soil can be lost from crop land through wind or water erosion. Heavy rainfall events, flooding, and drought conditions can contribute to the detachment and transport of soil particles, causing problems with agricultural productivity and water quality. The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation-Version 2 (RUSLE2) calculation used by the USDA-NRCS, one example to estimate soil loss due to rainfall, utilizes multiple factors, such as climate, soil type, topography, and land use. Rainfall intensity, duration, amount, and time of year influence the soil loss due to water. The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) is used by USDA- NRCS to simulate soil loss by wind.

Dust blowing due to strong winds in central Nebraska. Photo from the Nebraska State Patrol, 2018

REFERENCES USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. (n.d.) Water erosion RUSLE2 [Website]. Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/technical/tools/rusle2/

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. (n.d.) Wind erosion (WEPS) [Website]. Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/technical/tools/weps/

Daily Erosion Project. (n.d.). Daily erosion project [Website]. Department of Agronomy, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University.: https://www.dailyerosion.org/

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Resource: Managing Weather and Climate Risk: Shannon, H. D., & Motha, R. P. (2015, December). Managing weather and climate risks to agriculture in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Weather and Climate Extremes, 10, Part A, 50-56. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212094715300384

Risk from Climate Change

As indicated many times in this publication, weather poses a significant challenge to agriculture. Changes in weather patterns over the long-term (also known as changes in the climate) will alter these challenges to agriculture, thus influencing pest development, crop growth, water availability, etc.

REFERENCES Gowda, P., Steiner, J.L., Olson, C., Boggess, M., Farrigan, T., & Grusak, M.A. (2018). Chapter 10: Agriculture and rural communities. In D.R. Reidmiller, C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock, & B.C. Stewart (Eds.), Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 391 – 437. doi: 10.7930/NCA4.2018.CH10

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Climate Change: Extreme Events

The projection for the Great Plains and Midwest is for extreme events, such as heavy downpours, flooding, heat waves, and drought, to increase in the future. Although these events are common in this region, an increase in frequency could put extra stress on farms already feeling plenty of pressure from these losses.

Strong winds “green - snapped” one variety of field corn. Photo Credit: Hans Schmitz

REFERENCES Conant, Kluck, R.T., Anderson, M., Badger, A., Boustead, B.M., Derner, J., Farris, L., Hayes, M., Livneh, B., McNeeley, S., Peck, D., Shulski, M., & Small, V. (2018). Northern Great Plains. In Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock, & B.C. Stewart (Eds.), Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 941 – 986. doi: 10.7930/NCA4.2018.CH22 Walsh, J., D., Wuebbles, K., Hayhoe, J., Kossin, K., Kunkel, G., Stephens, P., Thorne, R., Vose, M., Wehner, J., Willis, D.. Anderson, S., Doney, R., Feely, P., Hennon, V. Kharin, T. Knutson, F. Landerer, T. Lenton, J. Kennedy, and R. Somerville, 2014: Ch. 2: Our changing climate. In Melillo, J. M., Richmond, T.C., & Yohe, G.W. (Eds.), Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, U.S. Global Change Research Program, 19-67. doi:10.7930/J0KW5CXT

Climate Change: Pests

Pest management is a persistent challenge in cropping systems. Weeds, insects, and diseases are common pest challenges, and the impacts are often influenced by weather conditions. Changing weather conditions will alter the frequency, type, and intensity of pest pressure. For example, the increase in humidity in the Midwest has created favorable conditions for diseases and pathogens. Also, warmer temperatures and an extended growing season have enabled the northward expansion and increased likelihood for overwintering

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survival of pests. This trend of increasing humidity and warmer temperatures is expected to continue, adding to the region’s challenge o f managing new and emerging pests.

Proximity to field edges increase habitat for voles and other plant pests.

REFERENCES Angel, J., Swanston, C., Boustead, B.M.,Conlon, K.C., Hall, K. R., Jorns, J. L., Kunkel, K. E., Lemos, M. C., Lofgren, B., Ontl, T. A., Posey, J., Stone, K., Takle, G., & Todey, D. (2018). Midwest. In D.R. Reidmiller, C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock, & B.C. Stewart (Eds.), Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 872 – 940. doi: 10.7930/NCA4.2018.CH21 Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education. (2012). Changing patterns for weeds, insects and diseases [Website]. Grants and Education to Advance Sustainable Agriculture-Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education. https://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Bulletins/Cultivating-Climate-Resilience-on-Farms-and- Ranches/Climate-Risk-Management-and-Resilience-on-Farms-and-Ranches/Understanding-Climate-Risk/Weeds-Insects- and-Diseases

Climate Change: Water

It is often said that “climate is water”. Water is a key component in current and future climate challenges, and the amount, location, and physical state determine the impact of having too much or too little. Warming temperatures will change the state (liquid, gas, or solid) and demand of water. An increase in heavy rainfall

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events, drought, reduced mountain snowpack, among others, are all risks to our water system due to a changing climate.

In agriculture, too much or too little water creates many challenges. Too much water washes away nutrients, drowns out crops, or prevents field work from getting done. Too little water creates drought stress, plant death, and reduced groundwater and surface water levels. Damage from flooding to infrastructure and to the land can be catastrophic to farming operations, as well as many other industries and communities. The quality of the water is another challenge. Warming temperatures and increasing heavy precipitation events contribute to the conditions for harmful algal blooms, creating poor conditions for recreation, habitat, and drinking water. Nutrient and sediment losses to the environment from erosion or saturated conditions reduce the quality of our groundwater and surface water. On a larger scale, reduced sea and land ice, and an increase in sea levels, create additional challenges beyond water quantity and quality. Infrastructure and transportation of agricultural materials and goods outside of the Great Plains and Midwest can also be influenced by these risks outside of the region.

Aftermath from flooding of White River near Crawford, NE. Photo courtesy of Gary Stone, University of Nebraska, 2019.

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REFERENCES Lall, U., Johnson, T., Colohan, P., Aghakouchak, A., Brown, C., McCabe, G., Pulwarty, R., & Sankarasubramanian, A. (2018). Water. In D.R. Reidmiller, C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock, & B.C. Stewart (Eds.), Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp.145 – 173. doi: 10.7930/NCA4.2018.CH3

UCAR Center for Science Education. (2020). The water cycle and climate change [Website]. Center for Science Education, UCAR. https://scied.ucar.edu/longcontent/water-cycle-climate-change

National Weather Service. (2020. National observations [Website]. NOAA National Weather Service. https://water.weather.gov/ahps/

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FARMER RESOURCES OVERVIEW

To reduce the weather and climate-related risks inherent to farming, a variety of tools and resources are needed.

To reduce the weather and climate-related risks inherent to farming, a variety of tools and resources are needed, from those relatively easy to obtain (such as online weather forecasts) to those requiring significant external partnership (such as access to affordable crop insurance). Resources include current farm management practices already known to reduce risk, knowledge of new or alternative practices, and resources for implementing them, including insurance products and disaster assistance programs to help protect against remaining risks.

Morton, L. W., McGuire, J. M., & Cast, A.D. (2017). A good farmer pays attention to the weather. Climate Risk Management (Vol 15), 1-126. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212096316300481

Best Practices for Reducing Risk

How do we reduce risk associated with extreme weather and changing climatic conditions?

Farmers have a variety of best management practices available for reducing the risks associated with extreme weather and changing climatic conditions. Approaches include best agronomic and economic management practices, among other tools and resources. Adoption of these practices relies on their use and recommendation by a variety of trusted sources. Farmer peer groups are one influential example. Many of the practices described below and resources mentioned utilize peer groups for implementation.

Youth examine dairy facilities and animals during judging events. Photo Credit: Hans Schmitz

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REFERENCES Roesch-McNally, G. E., Arbuckle, J. G., and Tyndall, J. C. (2018, January). Barriers to implementing climate resilient agricultural strategies: The case of crop diversification in the U.S. Corn Belt. Global Environmental Change, 48, 206- 215. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959378017306702

Best Agronomic Management Practices

Agronomic management practices constitute those actions that produce a high-yielding crop in an efficient manner. Efficiency limits waste and promotes the production of quality products. The American Society of Agronomy recognizes four categories of agronomic management practices in their Certified Crop Advisor professional development and recognition program: nutrient management, pest management, crop management, and soil and water conservation. We summarize resources in each of these four categories related to weather risks.

In which category of agronomic management principles do you or your farmers struggle with most?

Pest Management

Nutrient Management

Crop Management

Soil and Waste Management

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