Agriculture, the cultivation of crops and rearing of livestock for food and commercial purposes. It is one of the pillars of the thriving economy of any country.
United States Agriculture alone, for instance, is responsible for $300 billion gained to the US economy on an annual basis. When considering other agro-related products, the gross domestic product increases by an extra $750 billion.
Weather on Agriculture
Regardless of how profitable agriculture is, the prevailing weather condition of the place affects it significantly. The effect is because a change in the weather condition affects agricultural practices to thrive and yield increase. Some of these parameters include temperature, nutrient levels, soil moisture, and water availability to crops and livestock. Also, the concentration of CO2 increases light intensity.
Agriculture is mostly under these three headings crops, livestock, and fisheries. The climate has effects on them, though in different ways. These effects should be appropriately understood. As to know the extent of their influence on agricultural output and possible ways to curtail these effects.
In the United States and every other place in the world, a high yield of crops is responsible for abundant food supply. The effect of weather on crop yield depends on if it is an optimum year or not.
Generally, weather changes that have led to extremely high temperature hurt the growth and yield of crops. A good example is in the US in the year 2010 and 2012 where high temperatures led to a decrease in crop yield.
Extreme low temperatures could have a positive and negative impact on crops. An example is the wheat grain which becomes very vulnerable at low temperatures. However, in the same low temperatures, farmers stand to gain also. Because the soil becomes frozen such that vaporization of soil nitrogen becomes impossible.
Hot weather conditions over an extended period could lead to drought. This drought will affect the growth of crops and the quality of rangeland to support even livestock. A good understanding of the optimum requirements of crops before planting will help enhance its yield. This understanding helps regardless of the changing weather conditions.
In the United States, the primary source of meat is from the livestock and poultry. These sources account for the majority of cash receipts from the agricultural sectors. Weather conditions like a heat wave, usually affect the animals directly and even on a long-term basis. It increases their susceptibility to endemic livestock, which can decrease their milk-producing capacity. If harsh weather conditions persist for too long, there might be a loss of desirable traits.
Cold temperature would require farmers to keep the animals warm, observing them, to avoid them from freezing to death. Drought due to lack of rain causes a shortage of pasture and even feed supplies. When rainfall keeps persisting livestock are always at risk to waterborne diseases which are prevalent at that time.
When weather conditions are not predictable, it is advised by experts to adopt new veterinary practices. Also, other livestock management techniques to preserve the productivity and quality of the livestock.
The prevailing weather condition is regulating the aquatic ecosystem. The temperature and seasons influence the mating time and have impacts on their migration.
Noticing results are in the lifecycle of most aquatic animals like the salmon. Whenever the weather becomes hot, their susceptibility to diseases increases. Disease and other climatic factors account for the decline of salmon population in this weather condition.
Due to the global warming and climate change, atmospheric carbon dioxide is on the increase. Atmospheric CO2 is found to lead to the acidification of the oceans. These factors have grave consequences as it harms marine life. It can weaken their shells, displace calcium and disrupt the entire aquatic system. These disruptions affect the output of fish farming if not addressed.
The effect weather has on the agriculture needs to be watched. Due to current climate change, farmers should be observant to understand weather trends. They will need to be flexible with agricultural practices. They should also be abreast with other ways of curtailing the adverse effects of weather to avoid food shortages.
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Resource: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/ag-and-food-sectors-and-the-economy/, https://www.usda.gov/topics/animals/animal-production, http://www.fao.org/ecosystem-services-biodiversity/background/regulating-services/en/
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