Utah State University Extension
Crop variety selection is one of the most important choices on the farm. Crop genetics determine a significant portion of the yield potential and resource use efficiency. Crop types and genetics that use water more efficiently will become increasingly important as water becomes scarcer. Throughout Utah and the Western United States, water availability is decreasing due to various factors, including reduced snowpack and rapid urban growth. Alfalfa, other hay, small grains, and corn are grown on more acres than any other crops in Utah and much of the Intermountain West. These crops all have varieties, hybrids, and cultivars with the potential for more efficient water use while mitigating yield loss. Navigating these options and understanding various mechanisms and effectiveness can be a challenge. This guide will address some of the primary mechanisms, options, and effectiveness of crop genetics for improved water use efficiency.
Yost, M., Sullivan, T., Boren, D., Johnson, L., Mills, M., Creech, E., Kitchen, B., & Violett, R. (2022). Guide to drought tolerance of Utah field crops [Fact sheet]. Utah State University Extension.