Pioneer Expands Corn Drought Research

The corn drought research expansion further strengthens the Pioneer Hi-Bred’s commitment to bringing better genetics and traits that meet specific challenges facing grower, according to a company press release.

These locations, traditionally focused on sorghum, now will be expanded to include additional research for corn drought testing. The expanded facilities will allow Pioneer to establish managed stress environments, including needed irrigation systems. Both native and transgenic traits will be evaluated and characterized at these research facilities.

"While we all wish there was a magical gene for the development of drought-tolerant hybrids, the truth is drought is a complex issue with yearly variations in the timing and intensity of water deficit and high temperature stress," says Joe Keaschall, Pioneer corn research director. "That’s why Pioneer is so committed to building upon its established leadership role in drought tolerance research and has expanded its operations to meet grower needs in this area."

At the Manhattan, KS, facility, new yield test locations have been established specifically for targeted drought product development. In addition, additional infrastructure is being developed for future research.

For the Plainview, TX, facility, a breeding nursery has been established with several thousand inbreds being evaluated. Also, limited irrigation sites have been established for targeted drought yield evaluation.

Growth in 2010 at both facilities will be dedicated to the Drought I and Drought II product development initiatives. More specifically, the Drought I initiative combines native drought genes with needed traits in the most elite adapted inbreds for drought-prone areas. The Drought II initiative is focused on transgenic gene evaluation and integration into the most elite and adapted germplasm. Herbicide, insect and disease resistance will continue to be key traits for industry-leading drought hybrids.

"The current and future research activities at the Manhattan and Plainview operations support Pioneer’s goal of placing the right product on the right acre to maximize growers’ productivity," Keaschall says.

The Manhattan, KS, and Plainview, TX, research activities will be combined with Pioneer’s drought research efforts in Garden City, KS; LaSalle, CO; York, NE; Woodland, CA.; and Viluco, Chile.

(Source: Pioneer press release)

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