Picture Banner for SECC K12 Site

Climate and Weather Relation to Agriculture/K-12

How does this relate to agriculture?

Weather and climate are considered by some to be the most limiting factors in crop production.  Successful growers need to consider the climate AND weather conditions that are present in a certain growing area, as well as the growth requirements of the crops.  For example, have you ever wondered why cranberries are only produced in Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Maine?  Or why cotton is only produced in the southern part of the United States?  One reason is that crops have basic growth requirements for water, sunlight and temperature.  For example, peanuts require 140 to 160 days of growth at temperatures above 56 degrees to reach complete maturity.  These growing conditions exist in the Southern part of the US, but growing season is simply not long enough in the northern parts of the US for peanut production. 

Irrigation in Corn Downy Mildew on Cucumber
Figure G: Downy Mildew in Cucumbers
Figure H: Irrigation on Corn
Image courtesy of Bridget Lassiter
Image courtesy of Bridget Lassiter

Weather plays a slightly different role in crop production.  Different weather patterns can affect crops in different ways.  For example, some crops can withstand long periods of drought, and then recover when rain (or irrigation) finally arrives – tobacco is one crop like this.  Other crops can withstand very high temperatures, and still produce high yields (such as corn, cotton and peanut).  Still other crops can technically produce well in various weather conditions, but still might be plagued with insect or disease problems in times when the weather is not ideal.  One good example would be cucumber production in North Carolina that can be plagued with yield-limiting levels of downy mildew when rainfall or relative humidity remains high for extended periods of time. 

For those reasons, weather AND climate play a role in where crops are grown, and how those crops must be managed.

Last modified date: Friday, September 23, 2011 - 12:54pm