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Effectiveness of time of sowing and cultivar choice for managing climate change: wheat crop phenology and water use efficiency

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Abstract

Climate change (CC) presents a challenge for the sustainable development of wheat production systems in Australia. This study aimed to (1) quantify the impact of future CC on wheat grain yield for the period centred on 2030 from the perspectives of wheat phenology, water use and water use efficiency (WUE) and (2) evaluate the effectiveness of changing sowing times and cultivars in response to the expected impacts of future CC on wheat grain yield. The daily outputs of CSIRO Conformal-Cubic Atmospheric Model for baseline and future periods were used by a stochastic weather generator to derive changes in mean climate and in climate variability and to construct local climate scenarios, which were then coupled with a wheat crop model to achieve the two research aims. We considered three locations in New South Wales, Australia, six times of sowing (TOS) and three bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars in this study. Simulation results show that in 2030 (1) for impact analysis, wheat phenological events are expected to occur earlier and crop water use is expected to decrease across all cases (the combination of three locations, six TOS and three cultivars), wheat grain yield would increase or decrease depending on locations and TOS; and WUE would increase in most of the cases; (2) for adaptation considerations, the combination of TOS and cultivars with the highest yield varied across locations. Wheat growers at different locations will require different strategies in managing the negative impacts or taking the opportunities of future CC.

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Acknowledgements

We thank CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research for providing us the daily outputs of CCAM. Thanks also go to Dr. Mikhail Semenov for providing us the LARS-WG. Without their support, this research would not have been possible.

Funding

The Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and The University of Melbourne supported part of this analysis through the AGFACE project.

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Correspondence to Qunying Luo.

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Luo, Q., O’Leary, G., Cleverly, J. et al. Effectiveness of time of sowing and cultivar choice for managing climate change: wheat crop phenology and water use efficiency. Int J Biometeorol 62, 1049–1061 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-018-1508-4

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