As our nation confronts the worst drought since 1988, scientific innovations in agriculture can help farmers minimize yield losses. There is no single solution, and the reality is that plants need water to survive. But agricultural researchers and scientists are developing plant breeding and biotechnology innovations which can improve a crop’s ability to use water more efficiently and tolerate drought conditions.
Some 87 percent of the nation’s corn crop and 85 percent of soybeans were experiencing drought in August, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which added, “Over half of the corn and soybean areas are experiencing extreme to exceptional drought. This has led to both reduced yields and earlier harvests.”
“A striking aspect of the 2012 drought is how the drought rapidly increased in severity in early July, during a critical time of crop development for corn and other commodities,” noted the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA ERS).
To help alleviate the effects of drought on the U.S. and global food supply, seed companies are working with farmers across America’s farm belt to conduct field trials of drought-tolerant corn varieties.