By Laurie Goering

Farmers face growing threats to their crops from more frequent drought and other extreme weather in coming decades, but using water more efficiently could help them protect food and water supplies, experts said.

Globally, drought so severe it used to come once in 100 years is now expected to occur as often as every 30 years, Joshua Elliott, a University of Chicago agriculture expert, told a gathering of climate scientists in Paris this week.

Farmers in the United States boosted maize yields by 70 percent between 1980 and 2012 with only an 8 percent rise in water use, he said. But climate change is likely to stop that trend because adapting to rising heat will require water that may not be available, he said.

“When you put warming and adaptation (in the mix), water use accelerates and it accelerates rapidly,” he warned. Insufficient water means maize yields may decrease by nearly 14 percent in the United States by 2040, he noted…

Continue reading at Reuters…

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