Focusing On N Efficiency

DuPont and Arcadia Biosciences Inc. team up to improve nitrogen efficiency.

Growers around the world depend on a combination of nitrogen fertilizer and advanced genetics and technology to increase productivity. According to the International Fertilizer Association and the Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 12.5 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer are applied globally each year to corn. Nitrogen fertilizer prices, which are closely tied to natural gas prices, continue to rise, making efficient use of nitrogen fertilizer an increasingly important issue in grower profitability.

The two companies have entered a research and commercial agreement to improve nitrogen use efficiency in corn. Under the agreement, DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred has exclusive rights to Arcadia’s proprietary technology for improving nitrogen use efficiency in corn.

Like most crops, corn only absorbs some of the nitrogen that is applied to it, resulting in economic inefficiencies for farmers. Although farmers have taken great strides to reduce runoff, a portion of the unabsorbed nitrogen can enter waterways or volatize into the air as a greenhouse gas.

Pioneer is aggressively pursuing enhanced efficiency in nitrogen use — applying both transgenic and traditional research methods for future hybrid improvement. The collaboration with Arcadia builds on nitrogen use efficiency work already under way at Pioneer.

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