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Cornfields could yield less by midcentury

Author: Kristy

Rising corn yields are threatened by an increasing sensitivity to drought

Corn yields could fall 15 to 30 percent unless new varieties or agronomic techniques can offset the trend. (John Stanmeyer VII, National Geographic)

Joel K. Bourne, Jr., National Geographic | May 1, 2014

Corn yields in the U.S. have become more sensitive to drought, not less, over the past 18 years, according to astudy published today in Science.

The report warns that if the trend persists, yields could fall substantially by midcentury as higher temperatures subject corn plants to more water stress.

Corn yields aren’t falling yet; on the contrary, they’ve been steadily rising year after year, even as the average yields of other major grains like wheat and rice have been almost stagnant since 2000.

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