Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Zurich

Climate change and agricultural production

The shift in climatic conditions expected for the coming decades could become a major challenge for the Swiss agriculture. Relevant questions in this context concern the extent of the regional climate changes, their impact on agricultural ecosystems and the possibility for agriculture to adapt to the new conditions. Providing an answer to these questions is the main goal of «GRASS – Climate Change and Food Production», a project initiated in 2001 by Agroscope FAL Reckenholz as a contribution to the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) on Climate.The analyses carried out during the first four years have been based on climate scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The results indicate an enhancement of climatic variability at the regional scale. Feed growing could take advantage of the new situation whereas, without adaptation, negative impacts are expected in the cropping of spring corn. The increase in the risk of droughts will require a better hedging of farm incomes. Consideration of the possibilities for the reorientation of farming systems will play a key role in the second phase of GRASS.

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