Decreased wheat production in the USA from climate change driven by yield losses rather than crop abandonment



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An increase in global average surface temperature over the 21st century will affect food production. There is still uncertainty if the source of the production losses caused by climate change could be driven either by lower yield or reduced area harvested. We use county-level production data on winter wheat coupled with fine-scale weather outcomes between 1981-2007 to examine the impact of climate change on winter wheat production in Kansas. We decompose the total impact of weather variables through both the yield and harvested acreage channels. We find that an insignificant portion—both in terms of magnitude and statistical significance—of the production losses are due to reduced harvested acres (i.e., crop abandonment). The proportion harvested only account for 14.88% and 21.71% of the total damages under RCPs 4.5 and 8.5 and neither effect is statistically significant. An implication of this result implies that studies that only examine climate impacts on harvested yields are not significantly underestimating the climate change impacts on production.



Wheat, Winter, Climate Change, Crops, Climate Modeling