Farmers who planted drought-tolerant corn varieties this year said the corn appeared to endure drought better than other varieties, The Wall Street Journal reports.
“It seems like it takes a lot more stress, it’s a lot more tolerant,” said a farmer in Nebraska who planted DuPont’s drought tolerant corn variety Optimum AQUAmax.
A study published in 2010 by Iowa State University points out that conventional breeding techniques and biotechnology used by agricultural companies including Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta have already helped to reduce drought related losses for the U.S. corn crop by 1 percent a year in the last decade.
Researchers note that even small gains in corn bioengineering can lead to significant improvements in the size of corn crops and have “a huge economic impact.” David Lightfoot from Southern Illinois University says progress is going to have the biggest payoff for the crops that have grown in some of the driest areas of Midwest. Read more.