Research models show that increases in overall temperatures in California will have a direct effect on how some crops are going to be produced in the future. In one study looking at processing tomato production in the Central Valley, researchers found that changing temperatures will likely have a noticeable impact on the timing of the growing season.
“We looked at the data all the way starting from 1950, into the future by 2030-2040 and see how the time of maturity is changing,” said Tapan Pathak, UC Specialist in Climate Adaptation in Agriculture. “What we saw is, in general the time from emergence to maturity, the timeframe for processing tomatoes in that region, is going to shrink down almost by two to three weeks.”
One aspect that was not evaluated in the study was how the change in the crops timeline for maturity will affect yield. Pathak noted that would be a good focal point for future research. Another area of production which would be impacted by a shift in the production season would be seen further down the supply chain.
“A lot of those processors they have their timeline for when they need the tomatoes for the processing and so when you have this shift in the phenology, that sort of alters the timeframe by when they mature and then are ready for the processors,” said Pathak. “So, there’s a whole shift in the management that they might have to think about in the future.”
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