Crop Yields Are Better!
Worldwide crop yields have been getting better and better. We are seeing more and more record harvests every year. India just had record rice and wheat crops. Russia just had a tie for the best wheat harvest with 2017’s record best. The U.S. food crops are getting better and better too. Pennsylvania had a record winter wheat crop in 2020 and other crops are doing extremely well. This is going on in most areas of the U.S. and with all kinds of different crops.
Photo: Zach Larson From PennState Extension article.
Crop yields are measured by how much is harvested on a per acre basis. Nearly every major crop is experiencing increased yields on a per acre basis. As well as overall healthy volume increases. The world is getting better harvests because of climate change, better seeds, and a deeper understanding of farming.
Almost universally winters are a little less cold (2-3 degrees less) than they were 50 years ago, and summers are about the same, not hotter. Also, in the United States and elsewhere in the world there’s more moisture in the air and more rain. In the United States there is about an extra 1/3 of an inch more rain per month than 50 years ago.
In addition to this there’s more plant food in the air, CO2. We are now at about 415 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere. A hundred years ago it was about 280 ppm. In addition, plants can tolerate more heat and are more water efficient when there is more CO2 in the air. Green houses routinely get CO2 up to between 1,200 and 2,000 ppm to help plants grow bigger faster.
Fun fact: Talking to your plants does help them grow. Because you are exhaling about 40,000 ppm of plant food (CO2) on them as you speak.
It seems that what we hear and see about climate change is all negative. Yet, the reality is that there are many benefits to a gently warming and a bit wetter world.
Increasing crop yields, longer better growing seasons, a bit more rain, less cold winters, and summers about the same, not hotter, is good for plants, animals, and people. More plants are good for the earth. More plants and better plant growth are good for forests, animals, and people.
And that is good news!