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Potential impact of climate change on crop production in The Netherlands is explored at farm level by means of a whole farm portfolio analysis. Projected joint crop yield distributions were derived from crop growth models, whereby the projected impact of weather conditions was compared with historic data. A typical Dutch arable farm with potatoes, sugar beet and winter wheat on poor sandy soils was analysed in accordance with sets of historic and projected weather conditions. Projected crop yields and ultimately farm income increased due to more favourable climate conditions, even when the risk of poor performance of a particular crop due to extreme weather conditions increases. Commonly expressed expectations as to increased risk of crop failure and income loss due to climate change thus could not be confirmed. This is attributed partly to the fact that poor yield years often can have positive effect on farm income due to increased crop prices in times of relative commodity shortages but can also be attributed to the fact that potato, sugar beet and winter wheat show different vulnerabilities with respect to weather conditions. Portfolio analysis appears to be therefore a suitable instrument for analysing effects of climate change at farm level.


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