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The impact of climate change on maize yields in the United States and China


  • Li, Xiang
  • Takahashi, Taro
  • Suzuki, Nobuhiro
  • Kaiser, Harry M.


This study analyzes the impacts of climate change on maize yields using an econometric model that incorporates climate, economic, and technology variables. The major finding is climate change will not universally cause negative impacts of maize yields in the United States and China. The results of a simulation of climate change on maize yields over the period 2008-2030 show that a combination of changes in temperature and precipitation can either bring positive or negative effects on maize yields. Furthermore, variation in regional climatic and economic conditions makes the impacts of climatic change on maize yields substantially different in different regions. In this research, the impacts of climate change on maize yields are not simply examined by climate factors. Economic and technology adaptation effects on maize yields are also incorporated. Thus, even with significant changes in climate conditions that alter the maize crop's growing environment and affect crop yields, a decrease in maize supply due to a decrease in maize yields would lead to an increase in the maize price, which in turn would induce farmers to add more investments in production inputs to raise yields. Thus, the decrease in actual yields may not be as dramatic as predicted in only climate factor considered cases. In this research, findings gained from the study can be used for early-staged policymaking decisions and advanced problem prevention programs. To ensure the continuous increase in maize yields in the future, further studies and research, as well as efficient environmental policies and actions are required.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Xiang & Takahashi, Taro & Suzuki, Nobuhiro & Kaiser, Harry M., 2011. "The impact of climate change on maize yields in the United States and China," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(4), pages 348-353, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:4:p:348-353

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stockle, Claudio O. & Dyke, Paul T. & Williams, Jimmy R. & Jones, C. Allan & Rosenberg, Norman J., 1992. "A method for estimating the direct and climatic effects of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide on growth and yield of crops: Part II--Sensitivity analysis at three sites in the Midwestern USA," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 239-256.
    2. Phillips, Donald L. & Lee, Jeffrey J. & Dodson, Rusty F., 1996. "Sensitivity of the US corn belt to climate change and elevated CO2: I. Corn and soybean yields," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 481-502, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lechan Yang & Zhihao Qin & Lili Tu, 2015. "Responses of rice yields in different rice-cropping systems to climate variables in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, China," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 7(5), pages 951-963, October.
    2. Bhattarai, Mukesh Dev & Secchi, Silvia & Schoof, Justin, 2017. "Projecting corn and soybeans yields under climate change in a Corn Belt watershed," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 90-99.
    3. Yang, Chenyao & Fraga, Helder & Ieperen, Wim Van & Santos, João Andrade, 2017. "Assessment of irrigated maize yield response to climate change scenarios in Portugal," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 178-190.
    4. Ma Jiliang Jiliang & Jean-Francois Maystadt, 2016. "Weather shocks, maize yields and adaptation in rural China," Working Papers 104825642, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    5. Trumbo, Jennifer L. & Tonn, Bruce E., 2016. "Biofuels: A sustainable choice for the United States' energy future?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 147-161.


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