Potential impacts of climate change on storage conditions for commercial agriculture: an example for potato production in Michigan

Authors: Julie Winkler*, Michigan State University, Logan Soldo, Michigan State University , Ying Tang, Michigan State University, Todd Forbush, Techmark Inc, Chris Long, Michigan State University, David Douches, Michigan State Univeristy , Courtney Leisner, Michigan State University, C. Robin Buell , Michigan State University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Physical Geography, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Climate change, Agriculture
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Even though climate change is anticipated to influence all aspects of agricultural production systems, the potential impacts on crop storage for commercial agriculture have rarely been assessed. Storage is often an important component of a grower’s marketing strategy, and is essential for providing a continuous supply of a commodity for processors, exporters and consumers. The chipping potato industry in Michigan provides an example of the importance of crop storage. Michigan is the largest producer of chipping potatoes in the United States, and potatoes are typically stored on farms from September through June. We assess the potential impacts of climate change on the thermal characteristics of the holding period for chipping potatoes in Michigan using an ensemble of future climate projections developed for three future time slices (early, mid, and late century) from 16 climate models forced by three greenhouse gas concentration pathways. Our findings indicate an increased future demand for ventilation and/or refrigeration immediately after harvest and again in spring and early summer, even for the early-century time period. The period of reliably cold storage temperatures during winter, when averaged across all models, is anticipated to shorten by 8-13 days, depending on greenhouse gas concentration, for the mid-century time slice, and 12-22 days for the late-century time slice. The ensemble range, an indication of uncertainty, is large, although the sign of the projected changes in storage parameters is consistent. This case study provides an example of the potentially large effects of climate change on the storage conditions for agricultural commodities.

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