DEKALB System Delivers Deeper Roots To Withstand Drought

With the effects of last season’s drought still being felt in many states, farmers are looking for ways to help mitigate risk as they head into planting season. Farmers across the corn-growing area have selected DEKALB drought-tolerant corn plants with deep, strong root structures to help withstand drought conditions and reduce yield loss.

A root comparison study was conducted at Monsanto’s Gothenburg Water Utilization Learning Center in Gothenburg, NE, that showed the benefits of deeper root systems. The study incorporated a root dig and revealed the featured DEKALB product to have a significantly deeper, more evenly spread root structure than competitive products. DEKALB brand’s thick, deep root structure allows corn plants to reach crucial moisture locked within the subsoil, sucking up more water, nutrients and ultimately leading to healthier ears and outstanding yield potential.

“DEKALB brand has really been a leader in the development of what’s going on below ground, so they can produce 700 to 800 kernels per ear,” said Michael Petersen, lead agronomist with Orthman Manufacturing, a tillage and earth-moving company which participated in the root dig excavation.

Petersen said because more water and more nutrients are contained from 30 to 80 inches below ground, deeper roots can help plants withstand lengthy drought stress. “We see that when we have a deeper root system, it has a chance to be able to get water from all of that soil profile compared with only taking it predominantly from the upper 20 inches,” he explained.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor accessed through the USDA website, many states across the United States currently display drought conditions ranging from severe to exceptional, including regions in the Western Great Plains. For 2013, corn farmers in these areas can look forward to deeper roots and strong yields with DEKALB Genuity DroughtGard Hybrids — Monsanto’s latest tool for combating drought stress. DEKALB will lead the stewarded commercial introduction of new Genuity DroughtGard Hybrids this season.

Genuity DroughtGard Hybrids combine the DEKALB brand’s drought-tolerant genetics, which have been developed through the brand’s industry leading breeding program, with the industry’s first drought-tolerant biotech trait and agronomic practices. In the 2012 growing season, Genuity DroughtGard Hybrids experienced strong performance in trials, with commercial products showing a yield advantage of more than 5 bushels-per-acre over competitor hybrids.

“The Gothenburg root dig demonstrated the superiority of DEKALB drought-tolerant genetics,” said Mark Reiman, Monsanto’s Gothenburg Learning Center agronomist. “Combining those breeding genetics with the new drought-tolerant biotech trait in DroughtGard Hybrids will mean the potential for even more powerful yield protection for DEKALB farmers in 2013.”

To see time-lapse photos of the root dig and video interviews with the participants, visit For more information about DEKALB, farmers can contact their local DEKALB Dealer or visit


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