Empirically Estimating the Existing Irrigation Adaptation to Future Drought Impacts in Kansas Agriculture

Monday, 15 December 2014
Tianyi Zhang1, Xiaomao Lin1 and Xiaoguang Yang2, (1)Kansas State Univ, Manhattan, KS, United States, (2)CAU China Agricultural University, Beijing, China
More serious drought has been projected due to the climate change in the Kansas State of the U.S., which might threaten the local agriculture and thus require effective adaptation responses to drought, e.g. better irrigation. But the irrigation adaptation on drought at the current technology-level is poorly quantified, therefore challenges to figure out how much additional efforts are required under more aridity of climate. Here, we collect the irrigation application data for maize, soybean, sorghum and wheat in Kansas, and establish a two-stage model to quantify the crop-specific irrigation application responses to changes in climatic drivers, and further estimate the existing effectiveness of the irrigation to adapt future drought based on the IPCC AR5 ensemble PDSI prediction under RCP4.5 scenario. We find that the three summer season crops (maize, soybean and sorghum) would experience 0 – 20% yield losses depending on county due to more serious drought since 2030s, even though increased irrigation application as the response of drought had saved 0 – 10% yields. At the state level, maize receives most benefits from irrigation, whereas the beneficial effects are least for sorghum among the three crops. To wheat, irrigation adaptation is very weak since irrigation water applied is much less than the above three crops. But wheat yields were projected to have a slight increase in central and eastern regions because climate would become more moisture over the growing season of winter wheat in future. Our results highlight that the existing beneficial effects from irrigation would be surpassed by the negative impact of drought in future, which would cause overall yield reduction in Kansas especially for those summer season crops.