Dynamic Crop Production Responses to Weather and Yield Realizations with Application in Jordan
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Agricultural production is a fundamental aspect of many societies as a means of producing food and a source of employment and income. However, the variability of production brought on by unforeseeable weather places many farms and communities at risk. This is especially true in developing nations where agricultural households rely on rain-fed agriculture which is inherently dependent on the realizations of rains during the unpredictable rainy season to provide food and/or income. With this dependence of production on rainfall, farmers must adapt and adjust production decisions dynamically throughout the course of the year to mitigate production losses and ensure the availability of food for household consumption. The study area is in the rain-fed part of the Middle Eastern country of Jordan. In Jordan, water for irrigation has become so scarce that it is no longer used for annual crops (just tree crops such as olives), and farmers rely on seasonal rainfall to produce barley or wheat for large portions of their income, food, and livestock feed. In order to sustain production in the dry and unpredictable climate, farmers must dynamically react to the realizations of weather by varying planting dates, selecting tillage systems, diversifying across crops, adjusting input intensities and harvest and/or grazing timelines. Each of these production strategies represent choices within a dynamic intra-annual timeline of production for farms, and modelling the subsequent impact of each choice on final outcomes presents relevant results for global research. As areas and nations face increasing water scarcity or political pressure to consume less water in agriculture, understanding how farmers’ adaptability to realizations of weather or climate change is important for developing appropriate policy mechanisms. Additionally, recognizing the dynamic path of production choices in response to realizations of weather can help predict when agricultural households are most vulnerable to weather shocks.