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, 13 (10), e0204932
eCollection

Effect of Climate Change on Spring Wheat Yields in North America and Eurasia in 1981-2015 and Implications for Breeding

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Effect of Climate Change on Spring Wheat Yields in North America and Eurasia in 1981-2015 and Implications for Breeding

Alexey Morgounov et al. PLoS One.

Abstract

Wheat yield dynamic in Canada, USA, Russia and Kazakhstan from 1981 till 2015 was related to air temperature and precipitation during wheat season to evaluate the effects of climate change. The study used yield data from the provinces, states and regions and average yield from 19 spring wheat breeding/research sites. Both at production and research sites grain yield in Eurasia was two times lower compared to North America. The yearly variations in grain yield in North America and Eurasia did not correlate suggesting that higher yield in one region was normally associated with lower yield in another region. Minimum and maximum air temperature during the wheat growing season (April-August) had tendency to increase. While precipitation in April-August increased in North American sites from 289 mm in 1981-1990 to 338 mm in 2006-2015 it remained constant and low at Eurasian sites (230 and 238 mm, respectively). High temperature in June and July negatively affected grain yield in most of the sites at both continents. Climatic changes resulted in substantial changes in the dates of planting and harvesting normally leading to extension of growing season. Longer planting-harvesting period was positively associated with the grain yield for most of the locations. The climatic changes since 1981 and spring wheat responses suggest several implications for breeding. Gradual warming extends the wheat growing season and new varieties need to match this to utilize their potential. Higher rainfall during the wheat season, especially in North America, will require varieties with higher yield potential responding to moisture availability. June is a critical month for spring wheat in both regions due to the significant negative correlation of grain yield with maximum temperature and positive correlation with precipitation. Breeding for adaptation to higher temperatures during this period is an important strategy to increase yield.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Figures

Fig 1
Fig 1. Maps of the study locations.
Fig 2
Fig 2
Relationship between the (a) precipitation, (b) Tmax and (c) Tmin change in 2006–2015 versus 1981–1990 and yield change at the breeding sites for the same periods. R2 exceeding 0.12 is significant.
Fig 3
Fig 3. Spring wheat growing season at the breeding sites in 2006–2015 compared to 1981–1990.
The horizontal axis reflects dates starting from April 15 with 15 days interval.
Fig 4
Fig 4. Relationship between the changes (%) in the duration of planting-harvest period in 2006–2015 versus 1981–1990 and % of yield change for the same periods.

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References

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Publication types

Grant support

CIMMYT is supported by CRP WHEAT. CIMMYT thanks the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and UK Department for International Development (DFID) for providing financial support through the grant OPP1133199. Western Canadian wheat breeding research has been funded by a producer levy managed by the Western Grains Research Foundation and by grants from Agriculture and AgriFood Canada. Omsk State Agrarian University is supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 16-16-10005 signed 10.05.2016).
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