A $20-million research project funded by the U.S.D.A.’s National Institute of Food plans to examine climate impacts on the U.S. corn crop. Iowa State University sociology professor, Lois Wright, is overseeing the effort of 42 scientists from 10 universities. She says they are looking at several factors that impact the growing of corn.
She says they’ll be looking at the carbon-nitrogen and water footprints in the corn-bases system, with particular interest in what happens when long-term weather patterns change, and how it impacts the corn-based cropping system. Wright says the various scientists come from a lot of different areas of study, and that is what should lead to a more diverse study.
Wright says it should lead to a flow of ideas where people in one discipline are asking questions that another discipline haven’t asked before. She says it puts people together who may not have interacted before and now they are asking new questions, and she says that’s the exciting part of the study. Wright says the data already suggests weather patterns are changing.
Wright says there are eight to nine more days in the growing season than in the past, higher dew point temperatures and some extreme weather events that have some really big implications. Wright says the end result of the study should allow corn growers to make some better decisions on planting and producing their crop.
She says the work will go from the research to the extension, so producers will have good research and science to make some decisions for their own farm and land. Wright says those decisions have an impact that goes beyond the grower, something that is already being seen today as food prices are impacted worldwide by weather. The study will cover five years.