Since the 1970s, there has been a drop in rainfall in the wheat growing region of Western Australia, but this has not translated into a decline in wheat production. Indeed wheat production in Western Australia peaked in 2003 at 11 million tonnes.
The 2003 season was a good one for winter crop production across Australia with record production of just over 43 million tonnes.
Data on crop production from ABARE.
A new paper* in the journal Climate Change indicates that wheat production in Western Australia has not been greatly affected by the drop in rainfall because most of the reduction in rainfall has occurred in June and July, a period when rainfall often exceeds crop demand.
Indeed farming systems, like natural systems, are complex.
*Impacts of recent climate change on wheat production systems in Western Australia, by Fulco Ludwig, Stephen Milroy and Senthold Asseng, Climate Change, 2008.
Hat tip to Paul Biggs for the reference.
Paul’s new blog is now up and running, have a look http://climateresearchnews.com/