A new Stanford University study finds drought-tolerant seeds, soil management practices and other high-tech tools help most when the weather is good.
Study leader, David Lobell, analyzed soil properties and crop yields in Iowa and eight other corn belt states and says farmers can’t count on innovation to save them from bad weather. “People look to technology to do too many things at the same time, and ignore to some extent, the critical role of reducing the amount of drought that we’re seeing or that we’re likely to see in the future,” according to Lobell.
Lobell says there’s still not a good way to overcome poor growing conditions. “What we’ve seen with new technologies is that more than anything they help you take advantage of good weather. And so we can’t look to technologies to save us from bad weather,” Lobell says.
He says broad climate change mitigation, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions beyond the farm, will help improve growing conditions. His study appears in the journal Nature Food.
(By Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio)