Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Seed giant Monsanto Co. plans large-scale tests this year of the first government-approved biotech crop developed to deal with drought.
The new corn is being introduced as much of the U.S. remains abnormally dry and areas in the South and Southwest still face severe drought.
Monsanto says the corn won't be a panacea for drought-stricken farmers but when combined with improved agricultural practices could help those in areas like the western Great Plains, where production without irrigation can be half as much as the national average.
The St. Louis-based company plans on-farm trials from South Dakota to Texas to quantify how well the corn works before releasing it commercially next year.
Drought-tolerant corn sold by competitors such as Pioneer Hi-Bred were developed with conventional and molecular breeding.