Regionalization of climate scenarios impacts on maize production and the role of cultivar and planting date as an adaptation strategy
Understanding climate change and its impacts on crops is crucial to determine adaptation strategies. Simulations of climate change impacts on agricultural systems are often run for individual sites. Nevertheless, the scaling up of crop model results can bring a more complete picture, providing better inputs for the decision-making process. The objective of this paper was to present a procedure to assess the regional impacts of climate scenarios on maize production, as well as the effect of crop cultivars and planting dates as an adaptation strategy. The focus region is Santa Catarina State, Brazil. The identification of agricultural areas cultivated with annual crops was done for the whole state, followed by the coupling of soil and weather information necessary for the crop modeling procedure (using crop model and regional circulation models). The impact on maize yields, so as the effect of adaptation strategies, was calculated for the 2012–2040 period assuming different maize cultivars and planting dates. Results showed that the exclusion of non-agricultural areas allowed the crop model to correctly simulate local and regional production. Simulations run without adaptation strategies for the 2012–2040 period showed reductions of 11.5–13.5 % in total maize production, depending on the cultivar. By using the best cultivar for each agricultural area, total state production was increased by 6 %; when using both adaptation strategies—cultivar and best planting date—total production increased by 15 %. This analysis showed that cultivar and planting date are feasible adaptation strategies to mitigate deleterious effects of climate scenarios, and crop models can be successfully used for regional assessments.