About 250 farmers planted Monsanto’s DroughtGard biotech variety on nearly 100,000 acres in the western Great Plains this spring, before anyone knew the drought would hit so hard. Yet Clay Scott, a corn grower in Western Kansas, says he is “excited” about the results so far. “We’re starting to see some winners in the plots,” he told Energy and Environment News.
DuPont Pioneer’s AQUAmax hybrid variety is also in test plots, with farmers reporting good tasseling despite the drought. Test plots last year yielded seven percent more corn than conventional hybrids, the company said.
Neither company has ever claimed the new seeds are a silver bullet against drought, however.
“I don’t think there will ever be a solution for this severe of a drought,” said Mark Edge, DroughtGard marketing lead at Monsanto. “It’s really about managing risk. It’s still corn, and it still needs water.” Read more.