Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

American agricultural commodities in a changing climate

Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, USA

Although climate change research is largely focused on models to predict how environmental conditions will differ in the future, observations from the recent past should be analyzed closely to uncover patterns among temperature, precipitation, and yield. Presented are yield and climate data associated with five American agricultural commodities: corn (Zea mays L.), cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), rice (Oryza sativa L.), soybean (Glycine max), and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum). Yield data from 2000–2016, departures from usual maximum and minimum temperatures, and drought data are assessed for each crop during its growing season for the top-producing state in the United States. Juxtaposed to temperature and drought data from 2000–2016 are maximum and minimum temperatures from a base period of 1980–1999 to display the degree of change since the new millennium. A correlational analysis between crop yield and Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) was performed for the 2000–2016 timeframe. Of the five crops examined, corn and cotton were statistically significant at the 5% confidence level, indicating a relationship exists between yield and PDSI. In addition to analyses presented, a literature search was conducted to discover other studies on the impacts of climatic factors on these five agricultural commodities and large-scale climate systems.
  Article Metrics

Keywords agriculture; climate change; yield; temperature; drought

Citation: Tineka R. Burkhead, Vincent P. Klink. American agricultural commodities in a changing climate. AIMS Agriculture and Food, 2018, 3(4): 406-425. doi: 10.3934/agrfood.2018.4.406


  • 1. Motha RP, Baier W (2005) Impacts of present and future climate change and climate variability of agriculture in the temperate regions: North America. Clim Change 70: 137–164.    
  • 2. Monier E, Xu L, Snyder R (2016) Uncertainty in future agro-climate projections in the United States and benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation. Environ Res Lett 11: 055001.    
  • 3. National Centers for Environmental Information, Assessing the U.S. Climate in 2017. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2018. Available from: https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/national-climate-201712.
  • 4. Walthall CL, Hatfield J, Backlund P, et al., Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation. United States Department of Agriculture, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 2012. Available from: https://www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/effects_2012/. CC%20and%20Agriculture%20Report%20(02–04–2013)b.pdf.
  • 5. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Global climate change vital signs of the planet: causes. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2017. Available from: https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/
  • 6. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Global climate change vital signs of the planet: evidence. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2017. Available from: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/.
  • 7. Mira de Orduña R (2010) Climate change associated effects on grape and wine quality and production. Food Res Int 43: 1844–1855.    
  • 8. Dai A, National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff, The Climate Data Guide: Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, 2017. Available from: https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/palmer-drought-severity-index-pdsi.
  • 9. Mishra AK, Singh VP (2010) A review of drought concepts. J Hydrol 391: 202–216.    
  • 10. National Centers for Environmental Information, Historical Palmer Drought Indices. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2017. Available from: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/drought/historical-palmers/.
  • 11. Roberts M, Schlenker W (2011) The evolution of heat tolerance of corn: implications for climate change, In: Libecap GD, Steckel RH. Editors, The economics of climate change: adaptations past and present, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 225–251.
  • 12. Lobell DB, Field CB (2007) Global scale climate-crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming. Environ Res Lett 2: 014002.    
  • 13. Leng G, Zhang X, Huang M, et al. (2016) The role of climate covariability on crop yields in the conterminous United States. Sci Rep 6: 1–11.    
  • 14. Hatfield J, Takle G, Grotjahn R, et al. (2014) Chapter 6: Agriculture, In: Melillo, J.M., Richmond, T.C., Yohe, G.W. (Eds), Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Global Change Research Program, 150–174.
  • 15. Moya TB, Ziska LH, Namuco OS, et al. (1998) Growth dynamics and genotypic variation in tropical, field-grown paddy rice (Oryza sativa L.) in response to increasing carbon dioxide and temperature. Glob Chang Biol 4: 645–656.
  • 16. Leakey ADB, Uribelarrea M, Ainsworth EA, et al. (2006) Photosynthesis, productivity, and yield of maize are not affected by open-air elevation of CO2 concentration in the absence of drought. Plant Physiol 140: 779–790.    
  • 17. Hatfield JL, Boote KJ, Kimball BA, et al. (2011) Climate impacts on agriculture: implications for crop production. Agron J 103: 351–370.    
  • 18. Steiner JL, Briske DD, Brown DP, et al. (2018) Vulnerability of Southern Plains agriculture to climate change. Clim Change 146: 201–218.    
  • 19. Jackson LE, Wheeler SM, Hollander AD, et al. (2011) Case study on potential agricultural responses to climate change in a California landscape. Clim Change 109: S407–S427.    
  • 20. Nahar K, Ullah SM (2011) Effect of water stress on moisture content distribution in soil and morphological characters of two tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) cultivars. Bangladesh J Sci Res 3: 677–682.
  • 21. Chaves MM, Oliveira MM (2004) Mechanisms underlying plant resilience to water deficits: prospects for water-saving agriculture. J Exp Bot 55: 2365–2384.    
  • 22. Chaves MM, Maroco JP, Pereira JS (2003) Understanding plant responses to drought-from genes to the whole plant. Funct Plant Biol 30: 239–264.    
  • 23. United States Department of Agriculture, Irrigation & water use. Economic Research Service, 2018. Available from: https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-practices-management/irrigation-water-use/.
  • 24. Xu H, Twine TE, Girvetz E (2016) Climate change and maize yield in Iowa. PLoS ONE 11: e0156083.    
  • 25. United States Department of Agriculture, Field Crops Usual Planting and Harvesting Dates. National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2010. Available from: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/planting/planting-10–29–2010.pdf.
  • 26. Hu Q, Buyanovsky G (2003) Climate effects on corn yield in Missouri. J Appl Meteorol 42: 1626–1635.    
  • 27. National Centers for Environmental Information, Climate at a Glance: Statewide Time Series. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2018. Available from: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/statewide/time-series.
  • 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Statistics 2003. National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2003. Available from: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/ Ag_Statistics/2003/index.php.
  • 29. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Statistics 2004. National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2004. Available from: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/ Ag_Statistics/2004/index.php.
  • 30. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Statistics 2007. National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2007. Available from: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/ Ag_Statistics/2007/index.php.
  • 31. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Statistics 2010. National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2010. Available from: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/ Ag_Statistics/2010/index.php.
  • 32. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Statistics 2016. National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2016. Available from: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/ Ag_Statistics/2016/index.php.
  • 33. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Statistics 2017. National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2017. Available from: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/ Ag_Statistics/2017/index.php.
  • 34. Lobell DB, Asner GP (2003) Climate and management contributions to recent trends in U.S. agricultural yields. Science 299: 1032.
  • 35. Kukal MS, Irmak S (2018) Climate-driven crop yield and yield variability and climate change impacts on the U.S. Great Plains agricultural production. Sci Rep 8: 1–18.
  • 36. Downton J, Slatyer RO (1972) Temperature dependence of photosynthesis in cotton. Plant Physiol 50: 518–522.    
  • 37. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Cotton Production Regions of Texas. Texas A&M University, 2018. Available from: https://cottonbugs.tamu.edu/cotton-production-regions-of-texas/.
  • 38. Loka DA, Oosterhuis DM (2012) Chapter 5: Water stress and reproductive development in cotton, In: Oosterhuis DM, Cothren JT, Robertson WC. (Eds), Flowering and Fruiting in Cotton. Cordova, TN: The Cotton Foundation, 51–58.
  • 39. Ullah A, Sun H, Yang X, et al. (2017) Drought coping strategies in cotton: increased crop per drop. Plant Biotechnol J 15: 271–284.    
  • 40. Loka DA, Oosterhuis DM (2016) Increased night temperatures during cotton's early reproductive stage affect leaf physiology and flower bud carbohydrate content decreasing flower bud retention. J Agron Crop Sci 202: 518–529.    
  • 41. Huang J, Ji F (2015) Effects of climate change on phenological trends and seed cotton yields in oasis of arid regions. Int J Biometeorol 59: 877–888.    
  • 42. Prasad PVV, Boote KJ, Allen Jr. LH (2006) Adverse high temperature effects on pollen viability, seed-set, seed yield and harvest index of grain-sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] are more severe at elevated carbon dioxide due to higher tissue temperatures. Agric For Meteorol 139: 237–251.
  • 43. Arshad MS, Farooq M, Asch F, et al. (2017) Thermal stress impacts reproductive development and grain yield in rice. Plant Physiol Biochem 115: 57–72.    
  • 44. Jagadish SVK, Craufurd PQ, Wheeler TR (2007) High temperature stress and spikelet fertility in rice (Oryza sativa L.). J Exp Bot 58: 1627–1635.
  • 45. Pandey V, Shukla A (2015) Acclimation and tolerance strategies of rice under drought stress. Rice Sci 22: 147–161.    
  • 46. Barber T, Cartwright RD, Counce P, et al. (2013) Chapter 19: Glossary of rice industry terms, In: Hardke, JT. (Ed), Arkansas Rice Production Handbook. Little Rock, AR: University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, 203–206.
  • 47. Zhang T, Huang Y (2012) Impacts of climate change and inter-annual variability on cereal crops in China from 1980 to 2008. J Sci Food Agric 92: 1643–1652.    
  • 48. Nagai T, Makino A (2009) Differences between rice and wheat in temperature responses of photosynthesis and plant growth. Plant Cell Physiol 50: 744–755.    
  • 49. Zhang L, Zhu L, Yu M, et al. (2016) Warming decreases photosynthates and yield of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] in the North China Plain. Crop J 4: 139–146.
  • 50. Choi DH, Ban HY, Seo BS, et al. (2016) Phenology and seed yield performance of determinate soybean cultivars grown at elevated temperatures in a temperate region. Plos One 11: e0165977.    
  • 51. Morgounov A, Haun S, Lang L, et al. (2013) Climate change at winter wheat breeding sites in central Asia, eastern Europe, and USA, and implications for breeding. Euphytica 194: 277–292.    
  • 52. Gourdji SM, Sibley AM, Lobell DB (2013) Global crop exposure to critical high temperatures in the reproductive period: historical trends and future projections. Environ Res Lett 8: 024041
  • 53. Iizumi T, Luo JJ, Challinor AJ, et al. (2014) Impacts of El Niño Southern Oscillation on the global yields of major crops. Nat Commun 5: 1–7.
  • 54. National Centers for Environmental Information, ENSO-what is it? National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2018. Available from: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/teleconnections/enso/enso-tech.php.
  • 55. Heureux ML (2014) What is the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in a nutshell? ENSO Blog, 2014. Available from: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/what-el-niño–southern-oscillation-enso-nutshell.
  • 56. Luedeling E, Zhang M, Girvetz EH (2009) Climatic changes lead to declining winter chill for fruit and nut trees in California during 1950–2099. PLoS ONE 4: e6166.    
  • 57. Lobell DB, Field CB (2011) California perennial crops in a changing climate. Clim Change 109: S317–S333.    


This article has been cited by

  • 1. Piotr F. Borowski, Nexus between water, energy, food and climate change as challenges facing the modern global, European and Polish economy, AIMS Geosciences, 2020, 6, 4, 397, 10.3934/geosci.2020022

Reader Comments

your name: *   your email: *  

© 2018 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved