The agriculture sector continually manages weather and markets and is quite used to adaptation from year to year. However, agriculture thrives on a stable and predictable climate for production. As the climate changes, more volatile and unpredictable weather can result in reduced yields and farm incomes. How do farmers avoid degrading natural resources, reduce their costs for heating and cooling, reduce the requirement to increase external inputs such as pesticides and manure, while also lowering their risk of damages due to flooding or drought? Climate services and information can help increase resilience in this sector.

Climate models show the cold season will shrink, leaving a longer growing season. But with a longer growing season comes an increase in higher temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns – especially the likelihood of flooding and drought in the same year – which will require farmers to make significant changes, identify emerging opportunities, and assess ways to increase resilience.

With increased chances of drought and flooding, wet springs and autumns may make it challenging for farmers to take advantage of the longer growing season promised by rising temperatures. Early or late rain can simply make the land too wet to support farm machinery, and can hinder important seeding, maturing, or drying phases of many crops.

Those in agriculture will need to adapt to incorporate alternative methods of farming. Supporting the agriculture sector in sustainable transitions, like selecting diverse crop varieties, using green manures, cover crops, and low-till options that can thrive under changing climatic conditions, is key. 

    A potato field with the Confederation Bridge visible in the background.

    Further Reading:

    Climate Atlas: Agriculture and Climate Change. 

    Climate Data: Drought and Agriculture.