Impact of Climate Change on Agronomic Crop Production

Impact of Climate Change on Agronomic Crop Production

Muhammad Nasir*, Hafiz Muhammad Arslan Abid, Muhammad Tayyab, Sajjad Manzoor

University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan

*Corresponding author: [email protected]


Crops are dependent on temperature, light, moisture and CO2 to produce grains and other crop products to satisfy the basic human needs. Climate change is very likely to affect food security at the global, regional, and local level. Climate change can disrupt food availability, reduce access to food, and affect food quality. Increases in temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, changes in extreme weather events, and reductions in water availability may all result in reduced agricultural productivity.

CO2 Concentration:

Higher CO2 levels can affect crop yields. Some laboratory experiments suggest that elevated CO2 levels can increase plant growth.  Though rising CO2 can stimulate plant growth, it also reduces the nutritional value of most food crops.

Extreme Temperature:

More temperature both high and low and precipitation can prevent crops from growing. Extreme events, especially floods and droughts, can harm crops and reduce yields.

Anthropogenic Activities:

These are a source of rising concentration of greenhouse gases which in turn are the major reasons of global warming and other changes in climate (Zilberman et al., 2004). The climate change is characterized by rising temperature, erratic and lower rainfall declined  frequency  but  with  greater intensity,  changing  seasons,  and  occurrence of  extreme  events floods  and  droughts.

Major Impacts:

  • Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide reduce the concentrations of protein and essential minerals in most plant species, including wheat, soybeans, and rice. This direct effect of rising CO2on the nutritional value of crops represents a potential threat to human health.
  • Elevated CO2has been associated with reduced protein and nitrogen content in alfalfa and soybean plants, resulting in a loss of quality.  Reduced grain and forage quality can reduce the ability of pasture and rangeland to support grazing livestoc
  • Human health is also threatened by increased pesticide use due to increased pest pressures and reductions in the efficacy of pesticides.
  • Many weeds, pests, and fungi thrive under warmer temperatures, wetter climates, and increased CO2 The ranges and distribution of weeds and pests are likely to increase with climate change. This could cause new problems for farmers’ crops previously unexposed to these species.

However, other factors such as changing temperatures, ozone, and water and nutrient constraints, may counteract these potential increases in yield. For example, if temperature exceeds a crop’s optimal level, if sufficient water and nutrients are not available, yield increases may be reduced or reversed.

These changes pose serious threats to various sectors of economies. However, the agriculture sector is more vulnerable to these changes, since around 60 percent of agricultural production is determined by the suitability of weather conditions (Deshmukh and Lunge, 2012).

Production of crops is primarily affected  by the  availability  of  water,  which  in  turn  mainly  depends  on  the precipitation (monsoon seasons). Crops like rice and cotton are grown in summer which is characterized by very high temperature in most areas of Pakistan.

Impact on Cotton:

Pakistan’s  Agriculture  is  both  rain-fed  and  irrigated  but  cotton  crop  is normally sown in the irrigated and semi-arid areas due to its water requirement for proper growth (Naheed and Rasul, 2010).

Cotton crop of Pakistan has faced many challenges like pest attack, climatic variation and price volatility. Although,  the  problem  of  pest  attack  has  considerably  been  reduced  by  the introduction  of  Bt.  (Bacillus  thuringiensis)  cotton  but  the  climatic  variations which  have  been  independent  of  this  new  cotton  innovation  do  have  serious implications for the cotton production system.

Although,  Pakistan  is  not  a  very  active  contributor  in  greenhouse  gas emission  but  is  highly  vulnerable to  climate  change  due  to  its  geographical location

Pakistan  is  the  fourth  major  producer  of  cotton  in  the  world .The  cotton  belt  is  spread  over  the  1200 km  of  Indus  delta. The soil characteristics vary from sandy loam to clay loam. Irrigation is adapted to meet the primary water requirement of crop in high temperature and   low rainfall as a supplementary source. High temperature also makes the crop more vulnerable to pest attack and usual response of crop is loss of vegetative and fruiting parts.

The intensity of impact of climate change on crop production depends on the environment under which the crop is currently being grown.  Cotton is grown in the hot areas of Pakistan. The adverse impacts of climate change on productivity vary according  to  the  occurrence  of  events  during  different  growth  stages  of  the  plant (Doherty et al., 2003).

The effect of climate change on crop productivity is estimated including the  physical  inputs  variable fertilizer  use,  area  under  cotton and  of total  precipitation  during different stages of  growth.

The changing pattern of climate would have serious implications for the cotton economy of Pakistan. This crop is a very labor and capital intensive enterprise in Pakistan on one hand and 2/3 rd of our total exports are dependent on this crop on the other.

Therefore, agricultural research efforts should be concentrated on developing heat tolerant verities having high productive potential as well as resistant to insect pests’ attacks and to diseases.

The  climate  variability  has  affected  the  agriculture production  all  over  the  globe.  This  concern  has  motivated  important changes  in  the  field  of  research  during  the  last  decade.  Climate  changes  are believed  to  have  declining  effects  towards  crop  production  in  Pakistan.

Impact on Rice:

Major  crops  of  Pakistan  are affected by changing climate (Siddiqui  et  al., 2012)  found  the susceptibility  of  four  major  crops  of Punjab,  Pakistan,  when  they  were  exposed t o climatic changes . Temperature rise was found important for rice production at first, but when temperature increases beyond certain level, the increase became destructive towards its production.

More than 90% of the total acreage of rice is in Punjab province. In Sindh province, primary rice growing districts are Larkana, Jacobabad and adjoin district of Nasirabad of Balochistan province.  In Punjab, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura and  Sialkot districts  are  primary producer  of  rice.  Shikarpur,  Dadu, Thatta,  Badin  in  Sindh  and  Okara, Gujrat, Sargodha, Lahore, Kasur and Sahiwal  districts  of  Punjab  are secondary  rice  growing  districts.

(Peng et al., 2004) observed very close connection between rice yield and average minimum temperature.  Rice production is exhausted by 10% when average minimum temperature is increased by 1 °C.

Climate  change  is  being  countered  all  over  the  world and  also  portraying  its  physical  impacts  everywhere.  It is therefore necessary to evaluate the impact of these changes on crop productivity.


It is  thus  concluded  that  this evolving  risk  of  climatic  change  will stress  the  production  of  rice  in Pakistan.  Rainfall  and  mean  temperature  increase  would  be  beneficial for  healthier rice  production but will produce  negative  effects  if  these climatic  variables  are  increased  too much  in  future  decades  as  evident from  the  simulation  scenarios.  Increase  in  mean  maximum  temperature will  impair  rice  production  while increase  in  minimum  temperature will  raise  rice  production. Varieties which  are  tolerant  to  high  temperature  and  drought   should  be developed  so  that  losses  could  be avoided.  The  temperature  component may  shorten  the  growth  periods; therefore  the  cultivating time  should be  adjusted  accordingly.



Deshmukh, D.T. and H.S. Lunge. 2012. Impact of Global Warming on Rainfall And Cotton Lint With Vulnerability Profiles of Five Districts  in Vidarbha, India.  Int. J. Sci. Tech.  Res. 1(11):2277–8616.

Doherty, R.M., L.O. Mearns, K.R. Reddy, M.W. Downton and L. McDaniel. 2003. Spatial  Scale  Effects  of  Climate  Scenarios  on  Simulated  Cotton Production in the Southeastern USA. Climatic Change 1(2):99–129.

Naheed, G. and  G. Rasul 2010. Recent Water Requirement of Cotton Crop in Pakistan. Pak. J. Meteor. 6(12):75–84.

Peng, S., J. Huang, J.E. Sheehy, R.C. Laza, R.M. Visperas, X. Zhong, G.S. Centeno, G.S.  Khush  and K.G. Cassman. 2004. Rice yields decline  with   higher   night temperature from   global warming.  Proc.  Nat.  Acad.  Sci. 101(27):9971-9975.

Siddiqui, R., G. Samad, M. Nasir and H.H. Jalil. 2012. The Impact of Climate Change   on Major Agricultural Crops: Evidence  from Punjab, Pakistan. The Pakistan Develop. Rev. 51(4):261-276.

Zilberman, D., X. Liu, D.R. Holst and  D. Sunding. 2004. The Economics of Climate Change in Agriculture. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 9(4):365–382.




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