The impact of climate change on agriculture differs depending on the region and sector of activity. Predictive models suggest that climate change in eastern Canada will overall result in increased temperatures, changed precipitations patterns, and overall longer cropping seasons. Both modelling and actual experimentation in controlled environments and in fields suggest that yield response will vary depending on the crop species. In cool-season forage species, which are the predominant in the region, yields are expected to increase while the nutritive value is expected to be negatively affected. Changes in precipitation patterns and increased temperatures in the winter may jeopardize the winter survival of some perennial species. Increased temperature will, however, expend the area in which some warmer-season crops such as corn may be grown locally. The development of climate-smart approaches to develop resilient agricultural production systems and technologies are currently being researched locally. It is a concerted effort that includes changes in policies, adaptation of field management practices, the local introduction of new crop species, selection of new traits associated with abiotic stress resistance, and the development of new technologies that can help local crops cope with stresses associated with climate change. This presentation will review some of the challenges and opportunities associated with climate change in eastern Canada and some of the local initiatives to adapt to this changing climate with a focus on forage crops.


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