Proactive drought management

Last changed: 25 April 2020

- a model-based approach to drought management in Swedish crop production

A sustainable and competitive Swedish crop production is dependent on sufficient and reliable water supply in order to reach its full potential. Local deficits in water supply have been out of focus of the scientific debate due to historically good water supply. However, the situation has changed in correspondence to how climate change affects have become obvious and how the agricultural sector is in need for a better preparedness for extreme weather situations. The very dry summer 2018 resulted in strongly reduced harvest volumes in most of Sweden and demonstrated the sensitivity of crop production for longer droughts. For many this was an alarm clock to become better prepared for similar events in the near future.

In this project, we aim to contribute to this process by designing a simulation tool for studying water supply and demand for irrigation purposes under different climate scenarios. The tool will be applied at farm level to predict effects of one or several years of drought and by means of simulation experiments to evaluate which prevention measures have to largest potential to secure the farmer´s preparedness for future droughts. We will develop the tool based on a typical cereal farm in Gotland, a region that suffers from annually reoccurring droughts. In the long run, the tool will also be customized to other crop production systems and other geographical regions. Within the project we aim to increase the understanding of factors and processes that influence the agricultural production system´s sensitivity for droughts and give farmers a strategic tool to proactively increase their readiness before future extreme weather situations.

Facts:

The project was funded by Partnerskap Alnarp

Duration of the project: 2020-2022

Project Leader: Thomas Prade

Other contributors: Rickard Fornell (RISE), Andreas Nicolaidis Lindqvist (SLU/RISE), Sammar Khalil (SLU)