Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln say irrigated corn is highly efficient in its use of energy, water and fertilizer, and the increased yields it produces more than offset the energy costs.
University of Nebraska Lincoln agronomist Ken Cassman says the new findings are important in helping meet global demands for food, fuel and fiber.
Cassman co-authored a paper on his research that appeared recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Cassman says the widely held perception of irrigated agriculture as wasteful fails to account for crop-management changes in recent decades that have increased yields without requiring more fertilizer or irrigation.
He says the challenge for the agriculture industry is to produce enough food in a way that also protects the environment and conserves natural resources.