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Environment

California Farmers Already Adapting To Climate Change

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UC Regents
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A walnut orchard near Winters, California. If the current trend of warmer winters continues in Yolo County, a UC Davis study says chill hours may be insufficient for many walnut varieties by the year 2100.

UC Davis agricultural economists say climate change is affecting what crops are planted in California. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.

The study looked at 12 crops in Yolo County, using 105 years of local climate data and 60 years of county planting history.

UC Davis agricultural economist Dan Sumner says warmer winter temperatures would reduce "chill hours," potentially reducing yields for some crops, while extending the growing season for others.

And that could cause growers to change planting practices.

Sumner: "They may adapt the variety of almonds or walnuts they use, but it could also mean that, if we look out 20 or 30 years, that we may have fewer acres of the crops that are most sensitive to chill hours, and more acres of trees and vines that are less sensitive to chill hours."

Sumner says "growers in California have already been adapting to climate change for a long time and will continue to do so."