Canada’s Climate Warms to Corn as Grain Belt Shifts North
In the past 50 years the growing season on the Canadian prairies has lengthened by approximately two weeks, and the mean annual temperature is likely to climb by three degrees Celsius (five degrees Fahrenheit) by 2050. Because of this, wheat which has traditionally been grown in the region is giving way to the production of corn. Farmers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta sowed a record 405,000 acres of corn in 2013 – double the amount sown in 2011 and 20 times what was sown 20 years before. The prospects of a “Canadian Corn Belt” have helped push up the value of Canadian farmland by 36% between 2007 and 2012. The prospects have also driven companies such as Monsanto and DuPont to invest into the research and development of corn seed varieties that produce in a shorter growing season. Monsanto estimates that the acreage devoted to corn production in Canada’s western provinces could increase 20-fold by 2025, helping the country become self-sufficient in corm. Together, Monsanto and DuPont have invested more than $100 million into the region, boosting local staff and hosting corn clinics.
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