Adaptation of pulse crops to the changing climate of the northern great plains
Climate over the northern Great Plains has generally warmed over the last 60 yr. The rate of warming has varied temporally and spatially, confounding trend analysis for climate indicators such as increased length of the growing season. Change in precipitation has been even more variable. Despite this variability, present-day trends in temperature and precipitation generally coincide with the predicted direction of climate change. The synchrony of current and future trends reinforces the need for investigating adaptation in agriculture to changing climate. Our review is focused on sustainability of pulse crops in the northern Great Plains and the repercussions of climate change, focusing on the growth and yield response to temperature and water, and the climate restrictions that define their current geographic locations. The resilience of pulse crops to present-day weather extremes such as drought, excess water, heat, cool weather during grain filling, and early frost are considered to predict adaptation to future climate change. Features discussed include changes to crop water-use efficiency brought on by increased CO2 fertilization, accelerated growth rates resulting from higher air temperatures, and total crop failures caused by an increased occurrence and magnitude of weather extremes. Adaptation strategies that are discussed include earlier seeding of pulse crops, use of winter pulses, crop sequencing within crop rotations, and alterations to the microclimate such as direct seeding into standing stubble.