BASF, Monsanto Launching Drought-Tolerant Corn In 2014

Global crop protection companies BASF SE and Monsanto Co. plan to commercially launch a drought-tolerant variety of genetically modified corn in the U.S. next year, a senior BASF official said Thursday.

“We are working with Monsanto to develop a new GM corn variety, which is currently under trial and expected to be ready for launch next year,” BASF’s president for crop protection, Markus Heldt, said on the sidelines of a conference on food security.

The two companies have a revenue sharing arrangement, with 60% of revenue going to Monsanto and the rest to BASF, Heldt said.

He said BASF is investing around $188 million annually in plant biotechnology research to develop GM crops to improve yields and tolerance to drought and stress. It has collaborated with companies such as Monsanto and Bayer in the initiative.

In 2012, the U.S., the world’s largest producer and exporter of corn, was hit by its worst drought in several decades and millions of acres of plantings weren’t harvested by growers because they were severely damaged.

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