Reshaping the Welsh landscape to achieve potential of upland agriculture under current and future climate

Type Paper
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventResilience in the Welsh Uplands - An Evidence Perspective: Environment Evidence 2020 - Online
Duration: 14 Sep 202018 Sep 2020
https://epwales.org.uk/environment-evidence-2020/

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ConferenceResilience in the Welsh Uplands - An Evidence Perspective
Period14 Sep 202018 Sep 2020
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Abstract

Wales is perhaps best known for its deep green hills having permanent pasture for livestock. Changes to the climate could radically alter the upland agriculture scene. There is much potential to improve agricultural productivity in Wales within the dominant farming sectors (i.e. sheep and beef). Reshaping the Welsh landscape to introduce diversification and resilience of Welsh upland farming is crucial under current and future climate. Crops (miscanthus, willow, clover, ryegrass, oats etc.) were grown at different altitudes under agro-climatic conditions of Wales. Crop yield and phenology data were collected from on-going as well as previous experiments, along with soil and weather data to add in the process-based model (MiscanFOR) as input data. Model was run at field level to calibrate and evaluate model and estimate grass dry matter. Well-calibrated model was further run at higher resolution (1km x 1km resolution) for Wales using UKCP09 gridded weather and soil data to forecast grass dry matter showing, potential areas for each crop. Opportunity Maps for miscanthus and red clover show that there is higher yield potential in most parts of Wales. Miscanhtus and willow as bioenergy crops having higher suitability on Welsh uplands can play an important role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change. Further study on future scenarios using spatial modelling will help to develop adaptation strategies and recommendations for alternative crops and climate-resilient farming.