Improved crop models may help feed 9 bn people
Washington: Scientists have developed crop models to better forecast food production to feed a growing population - projected to reach 9 billion by mid-century - in the face of climate change.
Members of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) unveiled an all-encompassing modelling system that integrates multiple crop simulations with improved climate change models.
Bruno Basso, Michigan State University ecosystem scientist and AgMIP member said that AgMIP`s effort has produced new knowledge that better predicts global wheat yields while reducing political and socio-economic influences that can skew data and planning efforts.
He said that by using an ensemble of crop and climate models, it can be understood how increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, along with temperature increases and precipitation changes, will affect wheat yield globally.
The improved crop models can help guide the world`s developed and developing countries as they adapt to changing climate and create policies to improve food security and feed more people, he said.
Basso, part of MSU`s Global Water Initiative, and his team of researchers developed the System Approach for Land-Use Sustainability model.
SALUS is a new generation crop tool to forecast crop, soil, water, nutrient conditions in current and future climates. It can also evaluate crop rotations, planting dates, irrigation and fertilizer use and project crop yields and their impact on the land.
SALUS was initially designed by Joe Ritchie, MSU emeritus distinguished professor. Basso continued Ritchie`s work and added new features to better predict the impact of agronomic management on crop yield over space and time.
The paper has been published in Nature Climate Change.
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