Climate Change Mixed Blessing for Wheat Farmers

The increased temperatures that form the basis of climate change fears for farmers across the country are presenting wheat producers with mixed blessings.
For the past several years, climatologists have noticed increasing temperatures in the spring and summer months across the United States. These increased temperatures hit home last summer as farmers nationwide suffered in the grip of the worst drought in modern memory.
Temperature increases, however, are proving somewhat beneficial to some farmers. Balancing punishing summer temperatures are warmer winters and springs, which have allowed wheat farmers and some fruit farmers to plant their crop earlier, allowing for extra harvests and increased yields. Spring wheat crops, for example, have been seeding about 10-12 days earlier than normal thanks to warmer weather.
While warmer springs have allowed for increased wheat production, punishingly hot summers have been devastating to many wheat farmers. Spring wheat usually reaches critical growth periods around July, and severe weather can kill plants before they have a change to develop fully.
Like many of their colleagues, wheat farmers are being forced to adapt to rapidly shifting weather patterns. Earlier plantings which reap increased harvests could be one way to counter brutally hot and dry summers.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer