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Warming To Cut Wheat, Barley Yields For Cereals, UC Davis Study Finds

DAVIS (CBS SF) – The effects of climate change will seriously affect your morning bowl of cereal, as wheat and barley are expected to become more difficult to grow, according to new research by UC Davis and Cornell University.

Researchers analyzed 65 years of wheat and barley yield data from France, along with weather records.

Based on the data, researchers predict by the year 2100 that the yield for winter wheat would decrease by 21 percent, decrease 17.3 percent for winter barley and 33.6 percent for spring barley, under the "most severe" scenario of warming.

Researchers said the negative impact of increased heat would not be offset by extreme cold during the winter and the possibility of increased rain would not offset negative impacts of warmer temperatures.

The model found most of the negative effects of warming could be offset by new technologies such as heat-tolerant crop varieties, and improved farming methods.

"This is not to be interpreted as saying that yield will decrease regardless of any technological improvements that may be made in the future," study co-author and UC Davis graduate student Matthew Gammans said in a university statement. "It does suggest, however, that climate change will lessen the rate of any yield improvements that will be achieved by technological advances."

Wheat is the most widely grown crop in the world. Along with rice, wheat is among the top two sources of calories for human consumption.

The study was published in the May edition of the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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