Climate Change Implications for Agriculture

There are both significant risks and opportunities for the agricultural sector due to climate change.

There are both significant risks and opportunities for the agricultural sector due to climate change. These range from environmental hazards such as flooding to farm productivity and income changes such as price volatility and longer growing seasons. Implementing adaptation measures can help increase the resilience of your business against the negative effects of climate change while ensuring any opportunities can be utilised.

Climate change implications for agriculture

Natural environment

  • Ecosystem changes
  • Pressure on habitats and important species
  • Invasive species encroaching
  • Degradation of environment
  • Wildfire risk
  • Environmental enhancement opportunities

Pest & disease

  • Increased pest population numbers
  • Spread of disease
  • New pests and diseases
  • Crop damage and livestock health concerns
  • Reductions in yield

Farm productivity & income

  • Varied and unpredictable productivity
  • Market volatility on grain and animal products
  • Changes in fuel and fertiliser costs
  • Increased reliance on pesticides and herbicides
  • Longer growing season
  • Opportunities to exploit new markets

Quality of soil

  • Rainfall and temperature changes
  • Increasing temperatures threaten peat
  • Waterlogging and surface run-off
  • Wind erosion in dry conditions
  • Loss of nutrients
  • Changes in organic matter decomposition rates
  • Changes in areas of prime land

Food security

  • Global market and supply uncertainties
  • Increased global demand with rising populations
  • Food shortages
  • Fluctuations in grain markets
  • Changes in crops
  • New or greater variety of crops grown

Quality of water

  • Droughts
  • Flooding
  • Eutrophication risks due to nutrient loss from the soil
  • Groundwater pressure (irrigation)
  • Salinisation of water sources
  • Acidification of water sources
  • More abundant water supply at certain times of year

Environmental hazards

  • Heavy rainfall periods and flash flooding risk
  • Waterlogged fields impacting crop production and livestock grazing
  • Flooded paths and roads reducing access to livestock and land
  • Increased drought and fire risk
  • Increased storminess and extreme events

Business resilience

  • Supporting businesses to manage and respond to change
  • Minimising disruption to supply chains
  • Diversifying business to adapt to new consumer demands or requirements
  • Changes to workload and demands
  • Staff health and wellbeing
  • Identifying new opportunities in the market

Infrastructure & energy

  • Power lines coming down
  • Pipes bursting
  • Network connectivity and energy security
  • Increased demand on utilities
  • Transport
  • Maximising the potential for retrofitting buildings
  • Green energy, renewables, and efficiency options

Download Climate Change Adaptation for Agriculture: Is your farm ready?

This document provides a climate change adaptation checklist for your business so that various climate change adaptation measures can be considered. This will help you determine the most suitable and effective methods for improving resilience to climate change on your farm. Additionally, the topics examined throughout this document will provide suggestions and ideas that can aid in the development of an Emergency Action Plan for your business.

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