Sustainable agriculture in conditions of climate changes: Possible problems and ways of their solving in the South Steppe zone of Ukraine

Abstract

R.A. Vozhehova, Yu.O. Lavrynenko, I.M. Biliaieva, S.V. Kokovikhin, P.V. Lykhovyd, A.V. Drobitko, V.V. Nesterchuk, S.H. Vozhehov

Global warming inputs in agricultural production are considered to be valuable enough. The goal of our study was to determine possible consequences and main trends of climate changes in the Kherson region, Steppe zone of Ukraine. We used perennial meteorological data, gathered at the Kherson regional hydro-meteorological station, for assessment of climate processes in the region. Additionally, we calculated the most important for sustainable crop production meteorological indexes by using the modern methods and software application CROPWAT 8.0, such as effective rainfall amounts, evapotranspiration and moisture deficit. Evapotranspiration in the region in the period from 2005 to 2016 averaged to 4.3 mm/ha per day, that is quite high value of the index. We determined that evapotranspiration increase under the progressive air temperatures rise cannot be covered at the expense of natural humidification, although rainfall amounts are tending to increase too. Moisture deficit remains high enough and reached the maximum value of 680 mm/ha in 2014. Regression models of the processes in climate of the zone showed stable, weakly progressive trend to dryness increase (from 462 mm/ha of moisture deficit in 2005 to 502 mm/ha in 2016). The greater moisture deficit is, the greater demand for irrigation is. Ignoring this fact and taking no steps to solve the problem of irrigation would cause drastic decrease of crop production in the region. So, climate changes in the Kherson region should be taken in account when planning the development of sustainable crop production in the region in changeable biosphere conditions. We also suggest that development and application of modern irrigation methods, such as drip and subsurface ones, are a priority direction of agricultural production in the zone in connection with modern climate conditions and possible deterioration of water quality.

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