The demand for water is more responsible for lower crop yields under the influences of global warming than are increases in temperature.
Computer models used to predict the growth and yield of agricultural crops have shown that an increase in evaporation levels, and therefore a greater demand for water use, ultimately affects crop yields more drastically than high temperatures. While the two effects are linked, the evaporative demand for water is far more harmful to crops than direct heat stress on plant organs.
Yield losses experienced by farmers – especially maize growers – during hot seasons in the American mid-west were traditionally put down to heat stress. However this new research will enable farmers to more effectively combat temperature increases on their crops.Read more at The University of Queensland