Storyline - Agriculture
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Take Home Message

As the Big Wood Basin warms in the future, in general earliest planting dates are anticipated to shift forward somewhat (on the order of one week) and growing seasons are anticipated to lengthen. In principle, that will increase somewhat the variety of crops that could potentially be grown in the area. However, that is only part of the story, as other factors such as water availability or pest outbreaks also need to be considered.

Key Findings

Background

Agricultural is large element of both the economic and biophysical landscapes in the Big Wood basin. It accounts for approximately 12.9% of the land area in the basin (ca2010). Here we explore changes to the agricultural system under our twelve scenarios, looking through the lenses of changing water use, cropping systems pattern, growing season length, and frost-free periods.

The Data

Frost Free Period

The frost free period is a measure of the longest period during the growing season for which the daily minimum air temperature never goes below 32 degrees F. It is similar to the growing season length, but is not tied to any specific crop. The charts below show anticiapted frost free periods for the three agricultural areas in the Big Wood basin - the Lower Basin, the Bellevue Triangle Area, and Camas Prairie. The data series depicted on the map show results from our three climate scenarios, reported as annual summaries.
Bellevue Triangle Lower Basin Camas Creek

Cumulative Growing Degree Days

Cumulative Growing Degree Days (CGDD) is a measure of "heat units" that accumulate as temperatures rise above a specific minimum daily temperature. For these charts, we used 32 degrees F as our base temperature; these charts represent the amount the daily average temperature exceeded 32F, accumulated over a year. Higher CGDD's generally translate to longer growing seasons, but do not reflect other constraints, such as water availability or changes in pest populations. Again, we show this for the three agricultural areas in the Big Wood basin - the Lower Basin, the Bellevue Triangle Area, and Camas Prairie.
Bellevue Triangle Lower Basin Camas Creek

Growing Season Changes

The following charts show growing season lengths for three agricultural areas in the Big Wood basin - the Lower Basin, the Bellevue Triangle Area, and Camas Prairie. The left-hand side of each bar represents the earliest planting date for the given crop, while the right hand side represents the the last harvest date for the crop, expressed as averages for each decade. Both planting date and growing season length are calculated based on crop- and location-specfic accumulated growing degree days. In general, as temperatures increase, the growing season starts earlier and lasts longer. You can filter the results to show only the crops you want to focus on by clicking on the legends.

Changes in Cropping Systems Pattern

New chart coming soon...

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