Global surface temperature is projected to warm over the coming decades, with regional differences expected in temperature change, rainfall and the frequency of extreme events. Temperature is a major determinant of crop growth and development, affecting planting date, growing season length and yield. We investigated the effects of increments of mean global temperature warming from 0.5 °C to 4 °C on soybean and maize development and yield, both globally and for the main producing countries, and simulated adaptation through changing planting date and variety. Increasing temperature resulted in reduced growing season lengths and ultimately reduced yields for both crops. The global yield for maize decreased as temperature increased, although the severity of the decrease was dependent on geographic region. Small temperature increases of 0.5 °C had no effect on soybean yield, although yield decreased as temperature increased. These negative effects, however, were partly compensated for by the implementation of adaptation strategies including planting earlier in the season and changing variety. The degree of compensation was dependent on geographical area and crop, with maize adaptation delaying the negative effects of temperature on yield, compared to soybean adaptation which increased yield in China, India and Korea DPR as well as delaying the effects in the remaining countries. The results of this paper indicate the degree to which farmer-controlled adaptation strategies can alleviate the negative impacts of increasing temperature on two major crop species.
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