Climate Change Sets a Drought Trap for U.S. Corn

U.S. corn production is booming as Midwestern farmers adopt new technologies and methods in agriculture that mitigate bad weather, destructive pests and weeds.

But the long-term outlook isn’t good.

New research published yesterday in Nature Food shows maize is becoming more vulnerable to drought, a finding with major implications for annual corn yields given scientists’ predictions that climate change will intensify poor weather conditions.

“What is clear,” the researchers found, “is that despite robust corn yields, the cost of drought and global demand for corn are rising simultaneously.”

The researchers used county-level soil maps and satellite-based yield estimates to assess crop success in the nine Midwestern states known as the Corn Belt.

After looking at different fields’ drought conditions each year between 1999 and 2019, the authors identified a “very clear” increase in crops’ sensitivity to soil conditions that lead to drought, said report co-author David Lobell, a Stanford University professor of Earth system science.

So you can see why more people are getting into Water Investing!

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