Global warming may benefit Danish farmers

As global temperatures rise, new crops will be able to grow in Denmark

Danish farmers could benefit from the effects of global warming according to new research. The average global temperature rise would enable the cultivation of new crops such as maize and soya beans whilst providing bigger yields.

"A warmer climate enables Danish farmers to grow new crops and experience bigger yields," explained Professor Jørgen E Olesen, an expert on climate change at Aarhus Univeristy, to videnskab.dk.

"The collapse of farming in other parts of the world could even benefit farmers at home financially."

Making hay while the sun shines
Global warming is viewed as a massive challenge for farmers around the world. Drought or flooding leads to smaller yields and this has a huge bearing on global prices.

Russia, which is one of the largest producers of wheat in the world, experienced extended periods of drought in 2008 and 2011, which caused a surge in grain prices. During the same period, Denmark experienced no such adverse weather effects, thus being able to profit from the price increase. 

A similar scenario is unfolding in Canada where global warming is opening up vast tracts of arable land that were previously deemed unsuitable for farming. Meanwhile farmers in the US are having to resort to desperate measures such as depleting groundwater in order to irrigate crops during extended periods of drought.

READ MORE: A new age in global eco-politics or politics as usual?

Global warming overwhelmingly negative
However, global warming should not be viewed as a new kind of gold rush warns the UN’s climate panel, the IPCC.

As temperatures rise, extreme weather becomes more frequent and leads to an overall decrease in drinking water, the displacement of millions of people and big problems in the food supply chain.

Denmark's duty is to help others
Carl Åge Pedersen of the Danish Knowledge Center for Agriculture argues Denmark should utilise any potential benefits from global warming to help others.

“Danish farmers shouldn’t benefit from the hardships of others. We constantly test the suitability for growing new crops in Denmark, and yes, global warming could benefit farmers, but we have a moral obligation to help out those that may suffer 30 or 40 years down the line.”