Climate change adaptation in arable land use, and impact on nitrogen load at catchment scale in northern agriculture
Keywords:Adaptation, Cereals, Climate change, Crop, Diversity, Environment, Incentives, Legumes, Minor crops, Monoculture, Nitrogen leaching, Policy, Protein self-sufficiency, Rapeseed, Soil cover
Prolongation of the growing season due to a warming climate could represent new opportunities for northern agriculture. Climatic and biotic constraints may challenge future crop production. The objective of this study was to speculate how a range of arable land use patterns, resulting from various policy driven choices, could be introduced into a farming system, and how they would affect the risks associated with nutrient leaching. We found that while adaptation to climate change must include consideration of crop choices, there are conflicts associated with allocations and rotations for various market and policy situations. The expected increase in nutrient loading in the simulations caused by climate change was moderate. The increase can partly be compensated for by changes in farmland use, more in the shorter term than in the longer term to mid-century. In the future, adaptation at cropping system level is potentially an efficient way to manage nutrient load risks.
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