Wheat field

It could be just what climate change naysayers need to be convinced of the true impact global warming is having.  Newsweek is reporting in its current issue that wheat crops are facing major challenges as a result of the planet’s rising temperatures.

A cool season crop, wheat’s quality suffers in high temperatures, and the 1 degree Fahrenheit temperature rise over the last half-century has already led to a 5.5 percent decrease in global wheat production, according to Newsweek, and it looks like it’s only going to get worse: ” By 2050, scientists project, the world’s leading wheat belts—the U.S. and Canadian Midwest, northern China, India, Russia, and Australia—on average will experience, every other year, a hotter summer than the hottest summer now on record. Wheat production in that period could decline between 23 and 27 percent, reports the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), unless swift action is taken to limit temperature rise and develop crop varieties that can tolerate a hotter world.”

Durum wheat, which is used primarily in pasta production has seen its growing region in North Dakota shift west in the last several decades as weather patterns continue to shift, threatening farmland for one of the region’s premier crops. The changing weather made 2012 one of the hottest summers on record with the hottest July ever recorded in the U.S. Soy and corn growers have also seen hard times in light of the nation’s current drought situation that’s led to rising grain costs and intense government subsidies for the nation’s hardest hit farmers.

Gerald Nelson, a senior research fellow at IFPRI told Newsweek, “International agricultural research centers and the private sector have woken up to the fact that higher temperatures are almost inevitable and they have little in their genetic toolbox to deal with them.”

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Image: jenny downing