Will a New Input Strategy be Warranted in Non-Irrigated Crop Production Under Climate Change? An Analysis Using Corn and Soybeans in the Midwestern United States

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Student Presentation

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Zeynep Hansen and Kelly Cobourn


Incentives to delay agricultural inputs to improve output and protect against climate change and weather related risk are explored. When producer decision making in non-irrigated production with imperfect information and weather related uncertainty is outlined, a strong incentive is found to delay agricultural inputs. The EPIC crop simulator is then used to assess the yield impact of fertilizer delaying in non-irrigated corn-soybean rotations in Humboldt and Webster Counties, Iowa. Assessed in conjunction with disaster frequency data, crop simulations suggest optimal input timing to be six weeks or more after planting depending on farm specific risk factors. Additional production considerations such as field conditions and fertilizer runoff also support a six week or later input delay strategy. This result holds under both recent weather conditions and climate change projections through 2040. The strength of each component’s influence on the input delay decision changes however. Disaster frequency, field conditions, and runoff considerations all increase the incentive while the risk of yield loss from delaying fertilizer too long also increases, thereby decreasing the incentive over time. Additionally, the increased yield benefit is found to decrease relative to current conditions. Finally, methods to incentivize farmers to test delayed input practices are outlined.

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