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Last updated: 2022, June 12

Global Climate Change - How Agribusiness Prepare for Such Changes

 

 

Dr. Oleksii Orlov, PhD in Agriculture

 

Risks to field crops will increase with climate change. Even classical drought tolerant crops, such as sunflower, are at risk of death due to climate change and extreme drought (photo Dr. Oleksii Orlov, 2013). Contact Agricultural Consulting for consulting service of climate changes adaptation of agriculture!

 

The increase in production costs in agribusiness, the volatility of markets and the demand for increased food production, coupled with the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (from the world's leading economies), are already shaping how farmers producing field crops are doing business now and see their future. Efficient use of resources is important to maintain the profitability of agribusiness, as well as the using of innovations and the use of new varieties of plants to maintain increased crop yields of major field crops in a changing climate.

Unfortunately, many farmers, for example in Ukraine, do not have good opportunities to increase the production of field crops in a temperate climate, especially in the southern regions of the country. But there is no government food strategy that supports increased sustainable food production, emerging biofuel markets, environmental conservation and water protection in rural areas.

 

Strong action at once by two diseases - phomopsis and alternariosis for sunflower. According to research (Dr. Oleksii Orlov, Agricultural Consulting, 2010-2017), in Ukraine, 90% of sunflower fields are affected annually by diseases. The most progressive ones are phomopsis, phomosis, sclerotiniosis, root rot, gray rot, alternariosis. There are also new diseases that have not been observed before. The same situation is characteristic of other crops. Risks for growing field crops increase due to increased pressure of various diseases in existing crop rotation (photo Dr. Oleksii Orlov, September 13, 2016, Poltava region, Ukraine)

 

 

In the context of climate change, there are important goals for farmers and agro-industrialists:

  • Management of input prices for various resources for agribusiness (fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, machinery, fuel, gas and electricity), which are growing

  • Pests control that is resistant to insecticides

  • Increasing risks for the production of field crops, due to increased pressure and infectious pressure of various diseases

  • The need for proper use of herbicides, due to the emergence of resistant weeds and the strong aftereffect of certain groups of herbicides on subsequent crops in crop rotation - a change in the action of pesticides on various harmful organisms and regulation of their use

  • The release of nitrous oxide from the soil as a result of the use of nitrogen fertilizers

  • Soil erosion and loss of forest belts due to their poaching and burning stubble in the fields

  • Lack of financial resources and their high cost - the entire medium and small segment of farmers are practically devoid of good bank financing

  • A sharp increase in the tax burden in recent years (for example, in Ukraine a simplified taxation system for agribusiness has already been eliminated, an additional tax + 20% VAT has been introduced)

  • These are all problems that agricultural farmers must consider in order for their business to be successful

  • Combination of the adverse effects of climate change and the coronovirus pandemic (many markets are closed or restricted)

 

Herbicide-resistant weed - ambrosia, in many countries you will not surprise anyone. Herbicides containing sulfonylureas and imi herbicides are the most dangerous for weed resistance. There is also weeds with double resistance: to glyphosates + ALS. They also have the strongest aftereffect on subsequent crops in the crop rotation (photo Dr. Oleksii Orlov, Ukraine)

 

 

According to British scientists, agriculture produces more than 7% of greenhouse gases in the UK, and nitrous oxide (N2O) is greenhouse gas, which makes up almost half of these emissions. This gas is 298 times more effective in its impact on the climate than carbon dioxide (CO2), and is released from the soil partly as a result of the use of nitrogen fertilizers (both industrial and organic). A number of measures, such as applying the right field crop fertilizer system, improving nutrient management and soil management, can help reduce nitrous oxide emissions.

Non-energy-efficient equipment is a big problem for farmers as it increases the costs of production. Lack of bank financing, a large and increasing tax burden annually is a huge problem for farmers in Ukraine. Many farmers and agricultural enterprises are using old, non-energy-efficient equipment that has already exhausted its resource, which is 15-30 years old. It consumes a huge amount of resources and time, and does little work - i.e. not energy efficient and unprofitable! (photo Dr. Oleksii Orlov, Ukraine)

 

 

The good news for farmers are that taking measures to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt the business to unavoidable climate changes has many financial and environmental benefits, such as cost optimization, increased yield, reduced soil erosion and increased profitability. Thus, there are certain opportunities for farmers to get additional profit due to climate change.

 

 

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR FARMERS WITH CLIMATE CHANGE:

  • Optimization of various resources for agribusiness through improved nutrient management planning and the use of modern fertilizer systems

  • Cost savings by improving energy efficiency

  • An increase in demand for field crop production in World and development of new crops markets and a potential decrease in yield in other parts of the World

  • Potential for higher yields due to warmer climate and higher atmospheric CO2

  • New genetics - new crops and varieties suitable for our climate that maintain stable yields or increase yields under climate change, for example: facultative wheat, durum wheat, corn, soybeans, sunflowers, millet, sorghum, chickpeas and other oilseeds and crops containing starch.

Sunflower is one of the crops that is able to increase its productivity during climate warming. In the photo - sunflower in dry conditions is able to form an acceptable yield (photo Dr. Oleksii Orlov, August 16, 2017, Zaporizhia region, Ukraine)

 

 

 

MAIN CHALLENGES FOR AGRICULTURAL BUSINESS IN CHANGE OF CLIMATE TIME:

  • A steady increase in production and increased competition between agricultural producers to meet the demand from a growing population on the Planet

  • Increased risks of loss of invested funds and financial risks due to the possibility of loss of yields from the effects of drought

  • Market segmentation, increased competition in individual segments, increased specialization and improved quality of manufactured products that are growing in price

  • Proper use of plant protection products and integrated pest management

  • Control of pests, weeds and diseases caused by climate change

  • Fight and prophylactic actions against more extreme weather events

  • Adaptation to changes in water availability and associated costs

  • Managing risks from the effects of an increasingly volatile global food markets

 

Some farmers in 2017-2020, due to the drought, lost their fields of soy and wheat, as well as other crops or received a minimum yield that does not provide any profit. At the photo: soybeans under extreme drought - growth points die (photo Dr. Oleksii Orlov, August 24, 2017, Kyiv region, Ukraine)

 

 

At the photo: soybeans under extreme drought - soybeans under extreme drought - beans and plants died (photo Dr. Oleksii Orlov, August 24, 2017, Kyiv region, Ukraine)

 

 

RESOURCES USING EFFICIENCY

The targeted application of a good system for optimizing the use of nitrogen fertilizers and the costs of their application can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen fertilizers and soil, as well as indirect emissions from industrial fertilizer production. More efficient use of various resources, energy efficiency, as well as improved breeding of cultivated plants, will allow agricultural producers to narrow the gap between actual and potential crops and, therefore, increase the efficiency of land use and production of field crops.

 

1. Nutrient Management and Fertilizer Application:

  • Nutrient management planning should include regular testing of the soil for the content of essential nutrients and microelements - this will highlight areas of the fields where fertilizers can be better applied according to the nutrient requirements of crops, reduce the cost of applying unnecessary fertilizers and increase productivity

  • Use nitrogen-fixing crops in crop rotation and apply nitrogen-fixing cover crops to improve soil structure and reduce the cost of nitrogen fertilizers. Grow soybeans, peas, apply cover crops - for example, a mixture of red clover, vetch and rye. However, the cultivation of such crops will not necessarily reduce nitrous oxide emissions (or leaching of nitrates)

  • Apply right in soil and make effective the use of organic fertilizers: manure, compost, sewage sludge, anaerobic digestate, etc. - this will contribute to the production of humus and nutrients by field crop plants and will save money

 

2. Precision Agriculture and innovations

  • Precision farming technologies offers many advantages in terms of reducing the cost of production resources, reducing the use of fuel in the field, improving soil quality and reducing environmental production costs

  • Agribusiness's precision field logistics technology offers similar benefits, minimizing soil compaction and, therefore, improving soil structure and quality and increasing yields

  • CTF systems - optimization of transport and field logistics, reduction of fuel costs

  • Soil cultivation strategies and crop growing technologies need to be revised to reduce fuel costs

  • Assess the effectiveness of transport logistics in the entire supply chain (for example, transportation of grain), and study new low-carbon fuels and electricity using for transport and on-farm logistics

 

3. Energy:

  • Farmers can reduce costs and increase profitability by investing in more energy-efficient equipment, buildings, machinery, grain drying systems and humidity control and also to on-farm green energy facilities

 

4. Planning:

  • Growing activity periods and time from sowing to harvesting for different crops may vary, which will affect the timing of agricultural work, the timing of sowing and harvesting, and this will accordingly affect the planning of financial resources and resources during these labor-intensive periods

  • Reduction in the number of working days due to weather conditions. This may require additional equipment and careful management in order to carry out all work in a shorter time and reduce damage to the soil structure during intensive periods of tillage and harvesting

  • Work with other farmers, experts and the media to exchange information and experience

 

5. Consulting:

  • Good consulting from Agricultural Consulting Service can help you make high profits in the face of climate change, make your business more efficient and competitive

 

At the photo - sunflower plant died during flowering from drought due to late sowing. With climate change, the number of working days for performing agricultural operations decreases, which requires better management and better equipment and mechanisms for carrying out all works in a shorter time (photo Dr. Oleksii Orlov, August 18, 2017, Kherson region, Ukraine)

 

 

Late-sown sunflower field, died from strongly air and soil drought (photo Dr. Oleksii Orlov, August 18, 2017, Kherson region, Ukraine)

 

 

Necessary actions:

  • Creating a good fertilizer application system and plant nutrient management system

  • Optimizing the use of organic and mineral fertilizers

  • It is imperative to know the exact nutrient content of organic fertilizers before they are applied and apply the correct for organic standards

  • Reduce nitrogen losses during logistics and storage of manure and other organic fertilizers

  • Study and apply precision farming systems

  • Ensure the availability of water resources for production needs

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution by your agricultural business

  • Introduce innovations, increase energy efficiency, new varieties of crops with resistance to drought and increased productivity

  • Planning investments to perspective projects

  • Use agrarian consulting services from Agricultural Consulting Service

 

 

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