USDA Approves Monsanto’s Drought-Tolerant Corn

Drought-tolerant corn field

The USDA has deregulated Monsanto’s first-generation drought-tolerant trait for corn, MON 87460.

Drought-tolerant corn is projected to be introduced as part of an overall system that would offer farmers improved genetics, agronomic practices and the drought trait. Monsanto plans to conduct on-farm trials in 2012 to give farmers experience with the product, while generating data to help inform the company’s commercial decisions.

The USDA deregulation concludes the U.S. federal regulatory process. Import approvals in key corn import markets with functioning regulatory systems are in progress.

“Our drought system is designed to help farmers mitigate the risk of yield loss when experiencing drought stress, primarily in areas of annual drought stress,” said Hobart Beeghly, U.S. product management lead in a statement. “This spring farmers in the Western Great Plains will have an opportunity to see how the system performs on their farm through on-farm trials.”

Monsanto plans to have Genuity VT Triple PRO and Genuity VT Double PRO technology serve as the agronomic trait platform to be used with the drought-tolerant trait for the 2012 trials.

The drought-tolerant trait is part of Monsanto’s Yield and Stress collaboration in plant biotechnology with Germany-based BASF. The collaboration is aimed at developing higher-yielding crops and crops more tolerant to adverse environmental conditions, such as drought.

“Through this collaboration, BASF is excited to be working on meaningful solutions for growers dealing with drought-stressed environments,” said Jonathan Bryant, vice president of business management at BASF Plant Science in a statement. “We look forward to future advances from our yield and stress-tolerant pipeline with Monsanto.”

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