Global warming: Corn can survive and thrive

21-05-2018 | |
Photo: Michel Zoeter
Photo: Michel Zoeter

Projected changes in temperature and humidity will not lead to greater water use in corn.

This is concluded by researchers from Michigan State University in the US. This means that while changes in temperatures and humidity trend as they have in the past 50 years, crop yields can not only survive, but thrive.

Same energy balance

Bruno Basso, lead author of the study and University Distinguished professor and his colleague Joe Ritchie, co-author on the study, calculated how much energy crops receive from the sun and how it is converted to evaporative loss from the crop, known as evapotranspiration. The researchers used the energy balance to calculate the evaporative water loss for 2017, which set a world record yield of 542 bushels per acre. They found that the water loss was the same as it was for lower yielding crops because the energy balance was about the same.

No hinder for future production

In the US, as a result of improved hybrids and agronomic practices, corn production has steadily increased by an average of two bushels per acre every year for the past 40 years. Basso explained that data from the National Corn Growers Association competition for high yields shows the potential for continued higher yields in the future. The recent findings support that climate change won’t hinder its production if the trend of the past 50 years continues into the next 50 years.

MSU Today

Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor
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