Beating the Heat

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Beating the Heat

The past weeks have stood witness to a striking escalation in extreme heat waves, leaving a permanent mark on our planet’s climate. According to the World weather attribution (WWA), Climate change has made the heatwave at least 100 times more likely, with temperatures up to 3.5°C hotter than they would have been without climate change.

As the degrees Celsius continue to rise, the effect of intense heat waves reverberates across various industries, leaving a trail of challenges. From public health emergencies to disruptions in energy demands, this relentless heat seeps into every corner of modern society. How does this ongoing blistering affect the agricultural sector? Any solutions to cool down the aftermath of the temperatures on our productions?

Agricultural productivity heavily relies on the prevailing climate conditions, including weather patterns and water availability. Extreme heat events, known as heat waves, can directly impact agriculture by causing physical damage to crops, animals, and trees due to extreme weather conditions. Indirectly, the disturbed flow of goods and services, lost production capacities, and increased production costs further aggravate the impact of heat waves on agriculture.

Heatwaves and Crops

The effects on crop growth and development are varied and significant. They interfere with crucial processes such as soil moisture uptake, root and shoot growth, photosynthesis, respiration, and water uptake by plants, ultimately affecting final yield. Heatwaves exacerbate soil moisture depletion through accelerated evaporation, leaving plants with limited access to essential water resources. Moreover, the overall environmental degradation caused by heatwaves renders agriculture, forestry, and rangelands more susceptible to their adverse effects.

The changing climate, characterized by rising temperatures, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), and extreme weather events, poses considerable challenges to crop yields. The impact of increased temperature on specific crops depends on their optimal temperature for growth and reproduction. While warming might benefit crops in some areas or allow for the cultivation of warmer-climate crops, yields can decline when temperatures surpass a crop’s optimal level.

Higher CO2 levels can influence crop yields, as some studies suggest elevated CO2 can stimulate plant growth. However, various other factors, such as changing temperatures, ozone levels, and water and nutrient availability, can counteract these potential yield increases. Extreme temperature and precipitation events, like floods and droughts, can also adversely affect crop growth and yield.

Climate change also influences weed and pest proliferation, which can harm crops and increase the financial burden on farmers. As temperatures rise, these unwanted species find more favorable conditions to thrive, leading to increased expenses for pest management and crop protection. Additionally, the nutritional value of most food crops is compromised by rising CO2 levels, reducing the concentrations of essential minerals and proteins, thus posing potential threats to human health.

Not only the crops

In agricultural communities, where vulnerable populations, such as undernourished and weak individuals, often work on farmlands, extreme heat poses a direct threat to their health and well-being. The repercussions of heatwaves extend beyond tangible consequences measurable in monetary terms, encompassing intangible factors like anxiety, fear of future disasters, inconvenience, disruption, and stress-induced ill health.

Best Practices

  1. Irrigation Management: Implement efficient irrigation practices to optimize water usage. Drip irrigation and other water-efficient systems can help ensure that crops receive adequate moisture while reducing water wastage.
  2. Soil Moisture Conservation: Enhance soil moisture retention by applying organic mulches, cover crops, or incorporating organic matter into the soil. These practices can help retain water and reduce evaporation during heat waves.
  3. Heat-Tolerant Crop Selection: Choose crop varieties that are better adapted to endure high temperatures. Heat-resistant and drought-tolerant crops are more likely to thrive during heat waves and maintain better productivity.
  4. Cooling Techniques: Implement cooling techniques like overhead sprinklers or misting systems to reduce plant temperatures during the hottest times of the day.
  5. Monitoring and Early Warnings: Stay updated on weather forecasts and heatwave alerts. Having early warnings allows farmers to take preventive measures and protect their crops.

Give it a boost

Next time the weather forecast indicates upcoming intense heat waves, consider using bio simulants that help plants overcome the heat while maintaining crop growth. One noteworthy bio-stimulants that shines during this hot season is Bombardier from Kimitec.

This Bio-product contains 16.6% free amino acids (w/v), 11.63% of which are glutamic acids. Why does this matter?

A bioproduct containing glutamic acid supports plants during intense heat stress maintaining water balance and preventing dehydration in plant cells. It acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing harmful reactive oxygen species and reducing oxidative damage. Glutamic acid stabilizes proteins, preserves their functionality, and induces heat shock proteins, safeguarding cellular structures and maintaining plant health.

By enhancing photosynthesis and enabling better metabolic efficiency, glutamic acid helps plants adapt, grow, and thrive despite extreme heat stress, promoting overall resilience and productivity.

As we face the reality of increasing heatwaves and their implications on agriculture, the adoption of sustainable practices and innovative solutions becomes imperative. Only through collective efforts, guided by advancements in science and technology, can we fortify the resilience of the agricultural sector and secure a more sustainable and food-secure future for generations to come.

by Eng. Maryse Bou Zeid

Maryse Bou Zeid

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