Over-fertilizing Grass Crops Can Lower Yields During Drought

Research is finding that excess fertilization of grass crops such as wheat and corn can lower yields during drought, says a story in Civil Eats. The fertilization leads to eutrophication as plants grow quickly, then struggle due to increased competition for water and rapid depletion of water supplies. “There is a consensus that when you add nutrients to a system, it becomes limited by water,” USDA soil scientist Philip Fay explains. “That system, then, becomes more tied to changes in water variability.” The finding is especially relevant given widespread drought in western states this year.