Water-holding Capacity of Soil Critical to Mitigating Heat Stress, Study Says

A study led by Emory University and published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems found that soil water-holding capacity will be critical to helping farms weather heat stress due to climate change. Researchers analyzed 30 years of data on corn, soybeans, cotton, and wheat to quantify the long-term impact of climate and soil properties on crop yields. They found that growing-degree days were the most important climatic factor and water-holding capacity was the most influential soil property affecting crop-yield variability. “The take-home message,” lead author Debjani Sihi says, “is that farmers in regions facing added heat stress for their crops may want to proactively focus on the water-holding capacity of their soil.”