Study Warns of Crop Yield Risks in Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas

By Trish Svoboda

A study led by Nebraska researchers warns of the risk to crop yields in Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas due to ongoing groundwater depletion. The study, based on 30 years of data and published in Nature Water, indicates that depleting aquifers relied upon for crop irrigation can lead to significant reductions in yields, even when seemingly saturated.

Climate change, causing more severe and frequent droughts, poses a threat to groundwater supply. The research focused on the High Plains Aquifer, the largest in the U.S., underlying eight states, with areas in Texas and Kansas experiencing substantial depletion. Farmers depend on this aquifer to sustain crops during dry conditions. The study emphasizes the critical role of managing groundwater to ensure crop resilience during changing climate conditions.

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