|Green Fields by Larisa Koshkina|
A research article recently published by the journal Environmental Research Letters is suggesting a new method to improve water consumption in agriculture. The researchers focused on sixteen staple crops from around the world, and worked to find the use of water, location, and yield to try to maximize effectiveness. They found that the best way to affect the yield by crop was to strategize on where to plant the crops. Essentially, if a particular crop needs more water to grow, then promoting the growth of that plant in regions where more rainwater is available would yield greater results with less irrigation and water taken from the surrounding areas.
Farmers have been doing this for years, but only in regards to their own farmland. Decisions on that front have generally been made regarding which crops they should grow to get the greatest yield for them, as opposed to this, which pinpoints the best places for crops to grow worldwide. This helps fight crop overconsumption of water and underproduction of food. In fact, the researchers found that by bringing some of the poorest performers up to just the 20th percentile of performance, they could feed an additional 110 million people, while not using any more farmland or water.
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