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Research article2010Peer reviewedOpen access

Crop yield trends in relation to temperature indices and a growth model

Eckersten, Henrik; Kornher, Alois; Bergkvist, Göran; Forkman, Johannes; Sindhöj, Erik; Torssell, Bengt; Nyman, Per


Annual variability and trends in winter wheat yields were evaluated for relationships to climate in 6 long-term experiments (in total 1915-2005) and regionally in 3 counties (1965-2008) in southern and central Sweden. The annual yield was predicted as function of a climate index and year. Alternative indices were used based on either monthly temperatures or yield predicted by a simple weather-driven crop growth simulation model. The main results were as follows. (1) The yield predictions were better for regions than for the long-term experiments. (2) The time variable accounted for more of the yield trend in regions than in the experiments, and more in southern than in central Sweden. (3) The models based on a simple temperature index were often better yield predictors than the growth model. (4) The relations to winter temperatures became gradually weaker after ca. 1970. (5) The yield relation to simple temperature indices differed between locations, similarly for experimental and regional yields. (6) The strongest influence of climate was estimated by means of the growth model predictions of regional yields in Gotland County. (7) The fraction of regional yield trends (1965-1996; ranging from 57 to 90 kg ha(-1) yr(-1)) that could be attributed to climate was estimated greatest in the Gotland region (27 to 64%). For climate change assessments of winter wheat yield in central Sweden, the growth model considering temperature, radiation and water conditions during spring and summer would also need to include processes of overwintering.


Winter wheat; Climate; Water; Region; Simulation; Long-term experiment; Regression; Prediction; Sweden

Published in

Climate Research
2010, Volume: 42, number: 2, pages: 119-131