Combining models to estimate the impacts of future climate scenarios on feed supply, greenhouse gas emissions and economic performance on dairy farms in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAgricultural Systems. 2017, 157 157-169. 10.1016/j.agsy.2017.07.004
There is a scientific consensus that the future climate change will affect grass and crop dry matter (DM) yields. Such yield changes may entail alterations to farm management practices to fulfill the feed requirements and reduce the farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from dairy farms. While a large number of studies have focused on the impacts of projected climate change on a single farm output (e.g. GHG emissions or economic performance), several attempts have been made to combine bio-economic systems models with GHG accounting frameworks. In this study, we aimed to determine the physical impacts of future climate scenarios on grass and wheat DM yields, and demonstrate the effects such changes in future feed supply may have on farm GHG emissions and decision-making processes. For this purpose, we combined four models: BASGRA and CSM-CERES-Wheat models for simulating forage grass DM and wheat DM grain yields respectively; HolosNor for estimating the farm GHG emissions; and JORDMOD for calculating the impacts of changes in the climate and management on land use and farm economics. Four locations, with varying climate and soil conditions were included in the study: south-east Norway, south-west Norway, central Norway and northern Norway. Simulations were carried out for baseline (1961–1990) and future (2046–2065) climate conditions (projections based on two global climate models and the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A1B GHG emission scenario), and for production conditions with and without a milk quota. The GHG emissions intensities (kilogram carbon dioxide equivalent: kgCO2e emissions per kg fat and protein corrected milk: FPCM) varied between 0.8 kg and 1.23 kg CO2e (kg FPCM)− 1, with the lowest and highest emissions found in central Norway and south-east Norway, respectively. Emission intensities were generally lower under future compared to baseline conditions due mainly to higher future milk yields and to some extent to higher crop yields. The median seasonal above-ground timothy grass yield varied between 11,000 kg and 16,000 kg DM ha− 1 and was higher in all projected future climate conditions than in the baseline. The spring wheat grain DM yields simulated for the same weather conditions within each climate projection varied between 2200 kg and 6800 kg DM ha− 1. Similarly, the farm profitability as expressed by total national land rents varied between 1900 million Norwegian krone (NOK) for median yields under baseline climate conditions up to 3900 million NOK for median yield under future projected climate conditions.