Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Groundwater depletion means the peak era for growing grain has passed for some High Plains states, study says

USDA map
The peak era for grain-growing has already passed in some High Plains states, according to a new survey of groundwater depletion.

"To more accurately predict future grain yields, researchers looked at the relationship between levels of water extraction from the Ogallala Aquifer and the amounts of grain harvested in each state over the last 50 years," Brooks Hays reports for UPI. "Researchers adapted analysis techniques previously used to study the relationship between peak oil production and peak grain production. The research team detailed the results of their analysis in a new paper, published Tuesday in the journal PNAS."

Hays reports, "Texas and Kansas reached peak grain in 2016. Grain yields in the two High Plains states have been declining over the last four years. Without new yield-boosting technologies, grain production in Texas could decline as much as 40 percent by 2050."

Over-use of groundwater, especially the Ogallala Aquifer, will continue to threaten grain production across the High Plains, Hays reports.

No comments: