Broad Acre and Arable Cropping
Arable farming will be impacted by climate change both now and into the future. Weather patterns are going to change. Temperatures will increase, rain will increase in some areas and decrease in others, and extreme weather events such as storms and droughts are expected to become more frequent.
Currently, cropping directly produces approximately 3.1% of New Zealand’s agricultural export earnings and contributes significantly to our internal food stability and security.
Arable cropping also makes a huge feed contribution to support our animal production systems so that they also maintain their productivity, as well as supplying invaluable stocks of forage and vegetable seeds for the commercial market.
Challenges to food production include:
increases in the cost of inputs,
production impacts caused by erosion, and reduced water availability
land use impacts,
competing product use such as for biofuels.
To mitigate these challenges crop yield, production area and production efficiencies will have to increase.
Climate change will impose an additional challenge to food production due to changes in yield production caused by increasing CO2, temperature, the frequency and intensity of extreme events and changes in water availability.
Climate change will provide challenges about how we grow our own food supplies here in New Zealand.
It is likely to also open opportunities to overseas markets if we are successful in adapting our growing systems to take advantage of changing climates.
The more prepared we are for climate changes, the more successful we will be.