Increasing land cover diversity in agricultural landscapes could help the US produce more food, says the first study to look at the issue nationally. The study, which focused on wheat, soybeans,and corn and combined datasets on crop yields, weather data, soil and landscape features from 3,100 counties between 2008 and 2018, challenges the belief that monoculture (single cropping) generates higher yields. More diverse farmed landscapes had corn yields that were 12 percent higher and wheat yields 15 percent higher than the national average, typically producing 17-18 bushels more of corn and wheat per acre. The next step is to figure out how to diversify in areas where monoculture has changed the landscape, researchers say.

Read Full Story