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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Corn Controversy

A study by Wisconsin Environment states that the corn crop is particularly vulnerable to productivity losses from higher temperatures due to global warming.

"Global warming is raising temperatures in Wisconsin and across the nation. Global warming will mean lower yields for corn, and eventually the rest of agriculture," says Dan Kohler of Wisconsin Environment in an interview with the Wisconsin Radio Network.

Corn's ideal temperature range for maximum yield is about 64 - 72F. Above that range, higher temperature shortens the reproductive life-cycle of the plants, giving the grain less time to grow and decreasing yield.

A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Carnegie Institution found that climate changes since 1981 have already cost corn producers world-wide about 1.2 billion a year.

You can read the report titled "Hotter Fields, Lower Yields" right here.


Not so fast, according to Dr. Matt Roberts, an associate professor in the department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics at Ohio State University.

Roberts disagrees with the study and says the study ignores the factor of supply and demand.

Roberts also says that corn yields have been increasing, not decreasing as the study says.

You can read more about Roberts response to the Wisconsin Radio Network right here.

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