When it comes to crops, corn is thirstiest

Feb 17, 2015

Credit USDA

Agriculture drinks up 80 percent of the freshwater in America every year.  Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports just how much that is, for what crops, and at what cost reports the National Geographic.

The latest survey shows corn is still king, using 14 percent more irrigation than the last report. 

Corn also uses more irrigation water than any other crop.  And, 87 percent of irrigated corn is grown in regions with high or extremely high water stress like Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska.

With more extreme droughts expected, it’s only a matter of time before corn’s thirst comes face to face with limited water supply.

An interesting note, water use for all crops combined declined almost 4 percent. 

One explanation for the overall decrease is the use of more efficient irrigation techniques.