Friday, October 21, 2011

Drought-tolerant traits

Corn and soybean products that are more efficient in using available water resources will soon be available to producers. Pioneer is set to launch its Drought 1 tolerant corn in the western Corn Belt sometime this year, and other companies have drought-tolerant traits in their development pipelines.
“We have been studying drought tolerance since the 1950s,” says Jeff Schussler, senior research manager at Pioneer. “Our Drought 1 product uses native genes that we have identified that will help provide yield stability in areas with limited water supplies.”
The next round of drought products, according to Schussler, will include a transgenic approach combined with native genes.
In July, Syngenta unveiled water optimization technology called Agrisure Artesian. A limited quantity of hybrids with this technology will be available for 2011 planting through the company’s Garst, Golden Harvest and NK product brands.
“The water optimization technology enables corn plants to use available moisture more efficiently, resulting in higher yields on drought-stressed acres including dryland and limited-irrigation farms in the western Corn Belt,” says Tracy Mader, head of product marketing for Syngenta Seeds. “Growers on rain-fed acres in the central and eastern Corn Belt likewise can use the technology to help stabilize yields in years of inconsistent rainfall or in fields with variable soil types and moisture-holding capacity.”

Syngenta also is developing a water-optimized hybrid using a genetically modified trait and anticipates product launch after 2015, pending regulatory and key import market approval.

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