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Permalink MIT Study Predicts Severe Crop-Yield Reductions in Hotspots that Face Irrigation Loss

A study from MIT found that climate change's impact on irrigation will cause some parts of the country to experience severe reductions in crop yield by 2050. In particular, the Southwest is projected to have less precipitation and reduced runoff to use for irrigation. This would cause cotton yield in southern Arizona to drop to less than 10% of yield under optimal conditions, according to the study. Meanwhile, corn in Utah that currently yields 40% as much as optimal yield would also drop to 10% of optimal yield with less irrigation available. The study also predicts impacts on irrigated forage in the Northwest. However, the study predicts that the Southern Plains would have more irrigation water available, offering greater yields of irrigated sorghum and soybeans. This study is one of the first to look at how changes in climate would affect irrigation water availability, rather than solely considering individual plant performance.

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