Northwest Ohio crop yield benefits of water capture and subirrigation based on future climate change projections
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Northwest Ohio crop yield benefits of water capture and subirrigation based on future climate change projections

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  • Journal Title:
    Agricultural Water Management
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    Climate change projections for the Midwest U.S. indicate a future with increased growing season dryness that will adversely impact crop production sustainability. Systems that capture water for later subirrigation use have potential as a climate adaptation strategy to mitigate this increased crop water stress. Three such systems were operated in northwest Ohio from 1996 to 2008, and they exhibited substantial crop yield benefits, especially in dry growing seasons, but also to a lesser extent in near normal or wet growing seasons. The goal of this research was to estimate the increase in crop yield benefits of water capture and subirrigation systems that can be expected under projcted 2041–2070 climate conditions in northwest Ohio. Historical subirrigated field crop yield differences with fields having free drainage only, relative to growing season dryness/wetness, were used to determine future northwest Ohio subirrigated field crop yield increases, based on the modeled climate for 2041–2070. Climate records for 2041–2070 were projected using three bias corrected model combinations, CRCM + CGCM3, RCM3 + GFDL, and MM5I + HadCM3. Growing season dryness/wetness was classified based on the difference between rainfall and the crop adjusted potential evapotranspiration using the 1984–2013 climate record at the three system locations. Projected 2041–2070 growing season precipitation varied substantially between the three model combinations; however, all three indicated increased growing season dryness due to rising temperature and solar radiation. The overall subirrigated field corn yield increase rose to an estimated 27.5%–30.0% in 2041–2070 from 20.5% in 1996–2008, while the subirrigated field soybean yield increase improved from 12.2% in 1996–2008 to 19.8%–21.5% for 2041–2070. Consequently, as growing season drought becomes more frequent, the crop yield benefits with water capture and subirrigation systems will improve, and these systems therefore provide a viable climate adaptation strategy for agricultural production.
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    Agricultural Water Management, 189, 87-97
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