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Observed relationships between maize yield and climate in Sri Lanka

Karunaratne, A.S. and Wheeler, T. (2015) Observed relationships between maize yield and climate in Sri Lanka. Agronomy Journal, 107 (1). pp. 395-405. ISSN 1435-0645

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To link to this item DOI: 10.2134/agronj14.0043


The present study evaluated the effects of climate variability on maize (Zea mays L.) yield in Sri Lanka at different spatial scales. Biophysical data from the Department of Agriculture (DOA) in Sri Lanka for six major maize-growing districts (Ampara, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Hambantota, Moneragala, and Kurunegala) from 1990 to 2010 were analyzed. Simple linear regression models were fitted to observed climate data and detrended maize yield to identify significant correlations. The correlation between first differences of maize yield and climate (r) was further investigated at 0.50° grid scale using interpolated climate data. After 2003, significantly positive (p < 0.01) yield trends varied from 154 kg ha–1 yr–1 to 360 kg ha–1 yr–1. The correlations between maize yield and climate reported that five out of six districts were significant at 10% level. Rainfall had a consistent significant (p < 0.10) positive impact on maize yield in Anuradhapura, Hambantota, and Moneragala, where seasonal total rainfall together with high temperature (“hot-dry”) are the key limitations. Further, the seasonal mean temperature had a negative impact on maize yield in Moneragala (“hot-dry”), the only district that showed high temperatures. Badulla district (“cold-dry”) reported a significant (r = 0.38) positive correlation with mean seasonal temperature, indicating higher potential toward increasing temperatures. Each 1°C rise in seasonal mean temperature reduced maize yield by about 5% from 1990 to 2010. Overall, there was a reasonable correlation between district maize yield and seasonal climate in most of the districts within the maize belt of Sri Lanka.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
ID Code:39325
Publisher:The American Society of Agronomy

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