Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unique weather a factor in record 2004 Midwest crop yields

14.03.2005


If farmers talk big about 2004 crops as they get ready to head out into the fields this spring, let them talk. Believe them. Last year’s crop season saw record yields in every major crop amid the closest-to-perfect weather conditions of the last century, scientists say.



"Never before have corn, soybeans, sorghum, and alfalfa hay all achieved record yields in the same year," said Stanley A. Changnon, chief emeritus of the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) and an adjunct professor of geography at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In Illinois, the average corn yield in 2004 was 180 bushels per acre -- 16 bushels an acre higher than the record set in 2003. Soybean yields was 50.5 bushels per acre, beating a record set in 1994 by five bushels per acre. Record high corn yields also were reported in Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio. Nationally, the corn yield was 160 bushels per acre -- 18 bushels an acre above the 2003 record.


"Planting during the 2004 growing season was early," Changnon said. "Summer temperatures were below normal with no hot days. Rainfall was adequate. Crop-yield predictions issued during the growing season and up through August 2004 did not anticipate the high magnitude of the corn and soybean yields that actually occurred."

Sophisticated crop-weather models relying on daily temperature and rainfall values of 2004 also did not calculate yields as high as the actual yields. Predictions and model-generated yields were 7 percent to 15 percent lower than final corn yields for the 11 Corn Belt states, and 15 percent to 33 percent lower than final soybean yields of the Midwest.

Those outcomes, Changnon said, help to reveal that weather conditions critical to generating extremely high yields of all Midwest crops were not detected. He and his son David Changnon, a geography professor at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, decided to take a closer look at the weather conditions during 2004.

"A climatological evaluation revealed that summer 2004 conditions were unlike any experienced during the past 117 years," Stanley Changnon said.

They found that an unusually high number of sunny days had occurred, aiding photosynthesis. The frequency of summer days with clear skies was a critical, beneficial factor for all the crops grown in the Midwest.

"When a large number of clear days occurred in most previous summers, conditions were hot and dry with much above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Temperatures in 18 of the 33 summers between 1888 and 2003 with frequent clear skies averaged between 1.2 degrees Farenheit and 4.5 degrees Farenheit above the long-term average," Stanley Changnon said.

Summers with frequent clear skies, well below average temperatures, and above average rainfall occurred in just two years in the past 117 years: 1927 and 2004. Skies were clear on many more days in 2004 than in 1927, and June and August rainfall in both years had different magnitudes. Thus, the 2004 weather conditions were anomalous.

Summers with below average temperatures in all three months (June, July and August), as in 2004, occurred in 18 previous summers between 1888 and 2003. Sky conditions during those cool summers were mostly cloudy, quite different than in 2004.

Sunny, cool conditions in 2004 were a result of 20 cold Canadian fronts that crossed the Midwest, followed by strong high-pressure systems for several days. Each such intrusion dropped temperatures 5-15 degrees, followed by several clear days. High-pressure centers dominated the atmospheric circulation and kept warm, stationary fronts with their attendant penetrations of warm, moist air masses away from the Midwest.

"The atmospheric circulation pattern during summer 2004 was unusual, but these conditions and their crop impacts are not considered indicative of those expected with a change in climate due to global warming," Stanley Changnon said.

Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>