Drought. To farmers the word is a curse and one of the biggest limiting factors to crop yield.
In order to help farmers mitigate some of the risk associated with drought Monsanto has developed a drought-tolerant corn family. DroughtGard™ Hybrids, the newest addition to the Genuity® family of traits, were developed using select germplasm and a drought-tolerant biotechnology trait. When used in combination with agronomic recommendations the plant is designed to enhance yield stability when water is limited.
Farmers, especially those who farm on dry -land – relying solely on the generosity of Mother Nature to water their crops, have been waiting for this technology for years. Drought is a common thief of yield and can have a huge impact of the farmers’ bottom line. Products like Genuity® DroughtGard™ Hybrids show tremendous promise and will likely become a powerful tool for farmers in the Western Great Plains, where drought is common and rainfall is limited.
“We are conducting on-farm Ground BreakersSM field trials in 2012 to give farmers experience with the technology in multiple hybrids while generating additional data that will help us understand its large-scale benefits,” said Mark Edge, Monsanto DroughtGard Hybrids Lead. “I’ve been visiting with Ground Breakers farmers where the corn crop has been able to pollinate and set ears and the ear development and kernel count of these hybrids looks very promising, and farmers are looking forward to harvest to see yield results. There is no doubt that this year’s drought has been intense and in areas of very severe or extreme drought, not surprisingly, we have seen some crop loss.”
The Ground Breakers field trials are a unique opportunity for farmers – they’ll get to see first-hand how the technology works. In field trials in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas, Ground Breakers program farmers are experiencing the technology for themselves.
Ground Breakers is a good program to get this technology out and test it in the real world, according to Rodney Bromm of Tekamah, Nebraska. “So far the hybrids look pretty good,” said Bromm, “but we need some rain soon. I think being able to get by with a little less water is going to be very important down the road."
The hybrids seem to have very good promise, stated Brandt Peterson of Johnson City, Kansas. “I was excited to learn of the DroughtGard technology that was coming,” he said, “and feel it’s a great fit especially for our area where 13 to 15 inches of rain annually is all we’re expected to get – and in recent years it has been a lot less. Knowing that they will stand up to more heat and drought conditions than the normal hybrids we’ve had is very exciting.”
Edward Polasek of Tynan, Texas, wanted to participate in the Ground Breakers program test because it’s very important for people in South Texas to be able to see it actually growing and performing in our area and not just receiving the data on paper. “The DroughtGard Hybrids have a substantial advantage over the non-DroughtGard Hybrids,” according to Polansek. “Being the worst drought – one of the worst droughts that we’ve had – I don’t think we are going to make an average crop, but we are going to be close to it on the DroughtGard Hybrids acres.”
DroughtGard Hybrids have already received full regulatory approval in the United States and could be commercially introduced as early as 2013.