Thirsty wheat needed new water management strategy in ancient China

Research shows that a practice of purposeful water management, or irrigation, was adopted in northern China about 4,000 years ago as part of an effort to grow new grains that had been introduced from southwest Asia. But the story gets more complex from there. Wheat and barley arrived on the scene at about the same time, but early farmers only used water management techniques for wheat. The results raise awareness that the dispersal of domesticated crops and the knowledge of best using them can be traced independently across time and space.