Economic feasibility of adapting crop enterprises to future climate change: A case study of flexible scheduling and irrigation for representative farms in Flathead Valley, Montana, USA

Zeyuan Qiu, Tony Prato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Future climate change directly impacts crop agriculture by altering temperature and precipitation regimes, crop yields, crop enterprise net returns, and net farm income. Most previous studies assess the potential impacts of agricultural adaptation to climate change on crop yields. This study attempts to evaluate the potential impacts of crop producers' adaptation to future climate change on crop yield, crop enterprise net returns, and net farm income in Flathead Valley, Montana, USA. Crop enterprises refer to the combinations of inputs (e. g., land, labor, and capital) and field operations used to produce a crop. Two crop enterprise adaptations are evaluated: flexible scheduling of field operations; and crop irrigation. All crop yields are simulated using the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model. Net farm income is assessed for small and large representative farms and two soils in the study area. Results show that average crop yields in the future period (2006-2050) without adaptation are between 7% and 48% lower than in the historical period (1960-2005). Flexible scheduling of the operations used in crop enterprises does not appear to be an economically efficient form of crop enterprise adaptation because it does not improve crop yields and crop enterprise net returns in the future period. With irrigation, crop yields are generally higher for all crop enterprises and crop enterprise net returns increase for the canola and alfalfa enterprises but decrease for all other assessed crop enterprises relative to no adaptation. Overall, average crop enterprise net return in the future period is 45% lower with than without irrigation. Net farm income decreases for both the large and small representative farms with both flexible scheduling and irrigation. Results indicate that flexible scheduling and irrigation adaptation are unlikely to reduce the potential adverse economic impacts of climate change on crop producers in Montana's Flathead Valley.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-242
Number of pages20
JournalMitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology

Keywords

  • Agricultural adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Crop enterprises
  • EPIC
  • Flathead Valle
  • Net farm income
  • Net return

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