Determining the impact of soil regionalization and climate change on wheat and timothy grass yield in southeastern Norway

Tomas Persson, Sigrun Kværnø, Mats Höglind


Southeastern Norway is characterized by variable soils, which affect its agricultural productivity. The region is dominated by cereal production, but livestock farming with forage crops has increased the latest years. Climate and socio-economic changes could entail a shift from the current production areas of cereal and forage crops. In this study we used the mechanistic models CSM-CERES and LINGRA to evaluate impacts of climate change and soil variability on wheat and timothy yields in Akerhus and Østfold Counties in Southeastern Norway. The models were run for historical (1961-90) and projected future (2046-2065) climatic conditions, and for four soil regionalizations of different resolution (1, 5, 16 and 76 representative soil profiles). The extrapolation of soil characteristics was based on similarities in texture, organic matter, layering and water holding capacity. Across the whole region, there were small differences in both spring wheat and timothy yield between the different soil regionalization resolutions. However, within certain districts within the region the differences in wheat grain yield and timothy biomass yield among the soil resolutions were up to 20 percent. These results indicate that a relatively detailed resolution of the soil proporties is preferred to better understand the impact of shifts in production between cereals and forage grasses on yield level  if spatial variability within regions is considered . The climate change scenario used indicated increased yields of both crop types in a future climate. Further steps could include a weighting of the wheat and timothy production across soils according to economic analyses.

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