Drought-tolerant seeds coming in few months
BOONE, Iowa – The holy grail of seed companies — drought-tolerant corn — will reach farmers in the next few months, offering hope should record hot, dry summers return.
The new seed lines were popular attractions at the DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto and Syngenta exhibits early last week at the Farm Progress Show in Boone. The show displays the latest technology in agriculture.
Drought tolerance will be the latest gee-whiz addition to seed offerings, going beyond the pest and weed resistance made commonplace by the genetic biotech revolution. Iowa yields have increased around 35% to 40% since the late 1980s, helping satisfy a greater demand for corn for food, feed and fuel.
The new seeds won’t completely erase the impact of drought. The companies limit their claim to yield increases of 5% to 15% above what non-drought tolerant corn would yield in the kind of heat Iowa endured this summer.