Pioneer Introduces Drought-Resistant Corn

DuPont has launched a new generation of corn hybrids developed and tested to help deliver a yield advantage in water-limited environments, allowing growers to minimize risk and maximize productivity. These hybrids will be offered to growers under the Optimum AQUAmax brand name through DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred.

These hybrids, introduced for planting in 2011, contain a collection of native corn traits that improve water access and utilization and deliver greater yields in water-limited conditions. The initial class of Optimum AQUAmax innovations will include five hybrid platforms across a range of maturities and technology packages. While the 2011 launch size is limited and primarily targeted in the western Corn Belt, the technology advancement is an important milestone toward the longer-term objective of bringing breeding and biotechnology solutions to drought-prone environments.

In on-farm, advancement and research trials, the Optimum AQUAmax hybrids show a 5 percent yield advantage, on average, over leading commercially available competitor and other Pioneer brand corn hybrids. The performance of Optimum AQUAmax hybrids is validated through on-farm and research testing in water-limited environments throughout the western Corn Belt. From 2008 to 2010, Optimum AQUAmax hybrids were tested in 223 water-limited efficiency trials concentrated in Nebraska, California, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

“The Optimum AQUAmax products are another example of Pioneer’s right product, right acre strategy, which focuses on optimizing productivity and profitability to our growers,” said Paul E. Schickler, president, Pioneer Hi-Bred. “This further demonstrates the research that Pioneer has dedicated to drought tolerance for more than 50 years.”

Optimum AQUAmax hybrids are developed through Pioneer’s proprietary Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT) system. This is a suite of tools, including molecular breeding techniques, which allow research to rapidly scan and identify genes responsible for increasing yields and other beneficial traits. The AYT system allows Pioneer to bring products with key native genes to market faster.

Within the Pioneer research network, its targeted drought program includes eight managed stress testing locations in Woodland, CA; Garden City, KS; LaSalle, CO; Manhattan, KS; Plainview, TS; Kinston, NC; and Viluco, Chile.

“Drought is a complex issue and can affect crops differently depending on the geography and stress factors of each environment,” said Schickler. “There is no single gene or ‘silver bullet’ solution for the drought complex. Managing crops in drought-stressed environments is critically important to achieving performance results, and Pioneer continues to partner with growers to offer the best management suggestions to help maximize profit while minimizing risk.”

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