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Agronomy 2019, 9(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9010031

Prospects of Forage Production in Northern Regions under Climate and Land-Use Changes: A Case-Study of a Dairy Farm in Newfoundland, Canada

1
Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1, Canada
2
USDA-ARS-Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Building 3702, Curtin Road, University Park, State College, PA 16802, USA
3
Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Agassiz, BC V0M 1A0, Canada
4
St. John’s Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 308 Brookfield Road, Bldg. 25, St. John’s, NL A1E 0B2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 4 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 12 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Farming Sustainability)
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Abstract

Forage production in northern latitudes is challenging and uncertain in the future. In this case-study, the integrated farm system model (IFSM) was used to assess the impact of climate change and cropland expansion scenarios on forage production in a dairy farm in Newfoundland, Canada. Climatic projections indicated increases in temperature in the recent past (1990–2016) and under any future climate (2020–2079), thus enhancing agronomic performance. Temperature increases ranged from 2.8 °C to 5.4 °C in winter and from 3.2 °C to 6.4 °C in spring. Small precipitation increases (<10%) create narrower time windows to perform farm operations in the already stringent condition of excess moisture in the region. Results of land use scenarios including expansions of 20, 30, and 40% in cropland area, out of which 5% was dedicated to corn silage and the remainder to grass-legume mixtures, indicated increased yield and total production. Improvements in grass-legume yield ranged from 8% to 52%. The full range of production increases ranged from 11% to 105%. Increments in corn silage yield ranged from 28% to 69%. Total farm corn silage production increases ranged from 29% to 77%. An attainable cropland expansion of 20% would enable the farm to become self-sufficient in forage production under any climate scenario. View Full-Text
Keywords: grass-legume; corn silage; yield; production; dairy farm; integrated farm system model grass-legume; corn silage; yield; production; dairy farm; integrated farm system model
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Cordeiro, M.R.C.; Rotz, A.; Kroebel, R.; Beauchemin, K.A.; Hunt, D.; Bittman, S.; Koenig, K.M.; McKenzie, D.B. Prospects of Forage Production in Northern Regions under Climate and Land-Use Changes: A Case-Study of a Dairy Farm in Newfoundland, Canada. Agronomy 2019, 9, 31.

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