The biotech trait in DroughtGard Hybrids provides the corn plant the ability to slow down water consumption when experiencing drought stress. In other words, the plant sips water from the soil rather than gulps it when it’s dry. Monsanto calls it “hydroefficiency,” enabling the plant so it can endure drought stress for a longer period of time and give it a better opportunity to maintain its yield potential.
In 2012 field trials, when compared head-to-head with competitor hybrids with native drought-tolerant traits, DroughtGard Hybrids results across the Western Great Plains showed approximately 5 bushels per acre yield advantage. In field trials at the Monsanto Gothenburg Water Utilization Learning Center in Nebraska, the DroughtGard Hybrids produced similar yield while using one inch less water than competitor corn hybrids.
Launching in Western Great Plains in 2013
DroughtGard Hybrids are targeted for initial launch in the Western Great Plains region of the United States in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, western Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota. The hybrids are expected to be planted on the region’s dryland acres, areas where farmers are dependent on rainfall rather than irrigation. This area of the United States receives variable rates of rainfall every year, which can lead to drought conditions more often and more intense than other areas of the country.
However, nearly every farm experiences some aspect of drought during a growing season. As Monsanto learns more about hydroefficiency and drought, the DroughtGard Hybrids system has the potential to be used across the United States and in other parts of the world. For example, the biotech trait in DroughtGard Hybrids is being tested in hybrids in Africa for Water Efficient Maize for Africa.
Nearly every farm around the world experiences some aspect of drought during a growing season. A drought in any length and at any time impacts a farmer’s crop and harvest. With Genuity DroughtGard Hybrids, a farmer is able to mitigate his risk of yield loss when his farm experiences drought stress.