Transcript: The heat is on
Dr James Nuttall:
I'm here at the AGFACE facility in Horsham, Victoria, and this facility is where we have elevated levels of carbon dioxide at those levels tipped to exist at the year 2050. And it provides us with a facility that's an open-air laboratory that the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries is able to actually assess the growth and performance of crops under elevated carbon dioxide and also look at potential adaptation strategies required to make crops suitable for future climates.
Now, alongside elevated carbon dioxide, we're also expecting higher growing season temperatures, lower rainfall, and also the propensity for higher probability of extreme events such as heat waves. And this is another area that we're interested in actually assessing the impact of heat waves and the interactions of high carbon dioxide on the growth and yield of wheat.
Now, traditionally crops are most sensitive to extreme heat around flowering, because it's at this point that the crops are setting grain, which translates through to yield. And typically, a heat wave can actually cause abortion of that setting grain and so substantial reductions in yield.
What you see here is a heat chamber that we've used as part of the HeatFACE experiment. The HeatFACE experiment is focusing on looking at the effects of one-off temperature event on grain growth and nutrient yield.
During the temperature phase we were looking at the interactions of raised temperature, elevated carbon dioxide and water availability. We're hoping that the data gathered from this experiment can be used in crop growth models to allow us to validate and use the models to better cope with one-off temperature events.
The AGFACE is a joint project with the University of Melbourne and is partially funded by the Grains Research Development Corporation.