Thursday, June 18, 2009

Corn farming dustup: Actual Midwestern corn farmers say warmth is good for corn; writer from Brooklyn disagrees

TreeHugger: [Brian Merchant weighs in]
[Collin Peterson of Minnesota] We’ve just had the biggest floods and coldest winters we’ve ever had. They’re saying to us [that climate change is] going to be a big problem because it’s going to be warmer than it usually is; my farmers are going to say that’s a good thing since they’ll be able to grow more corn.
Woops. I mean, that statement is absurd even if you're a full blown climate change denier. As Yglesias points out, "Sadly, he’s not joking about this . . . farmers in any given place have worked over the years to achieve a setup that’s well-suited to the climate they face. If you drastically change the climate, that’s a big problem." It means new equipment, new irrigation considerations, new schedules, etc. It means trouble. Never mind that climate change will bring more severe storms and worse flooding--not exactly farmers' faves.

In fact, the more I think about it, Peterson's reasoning may land him in a strata all his own--beyond climate skeptic, past climate change denier, and into . . . climate change enthusiast? Watch out for this sly new brand of climate action opponent to take the world by storm soon.
Lesson 1b: Growing Degree and Applications
The crop grows according to an "S"-shaped curve depending on temperature, with the ideal temperature for crop growth, if everything else is satisfactory such as nutrition and water availability, being somewhere around 93 F
Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York :: TreeHugger
Brian Merchant is a freelance writer, blogger, and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. He started his writing career covering pop culture and independent music for the likes of Paste, Death + Taxes, and, but his passion has turned towards environmental and social issues.
My father has been a Midwestern corn farmer for many decades, and I know for a fact that warm weather there is considered good for corn growth.

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