Is a Monsanto Ultra-Early Corn Coming Soon?

Inside Dakota Ag

Monsanto/Dekalb corn breeders say a new early-maturing line from Ontario looks good and could be on the market in two to three years.

Published on: August 12, 2013

A new ultra-early corn hybrid -- the first from Monsanto’s Canada Corn Expansion Project -- may be on the market in just two or three years, says Mike Claywell, Monsanto's northern test lead specialist.

At a meeting I attended at Dekalb’s Glyndon, Minn., plant breeding station (Dekalb is one of Monsanto’s brands), Claywell said that a new early-maturing line developed in Ontario looks very good. If it performs as expected this season, it will be developed quickly for commercial release, perhaps in as little as two or three years.

Monsanto recently announced a $100 million Canada Corn Expansion Project to improve the 75- to 80-day maturity hybrids. Though it’s called the Canada Corn Expansion Project, the effort will also result in new hybrids for northern North Dakota, northern Minnesota and Montana, Claywell said.

Glyndon, Minn., is Monsanto’s northern-most corn breeding facility in the U.S. The company also opened a Carmen, Manitoba, site this year. Breeders from Glyndon are helping support the expansion in Carmen.

Corn breeding activity throughout the Northern Plains will increase significantly in the coming year, says Allen Faue, commercial corn breeder and manager of the Glyndon site. He says Dekalb will be looking at putting out more tests north of Grand Forks and in western North Dakota next year, as well as increasing the number of different lines tested at Glyndon.

During the event, I also got a preview of DeKalb HQ, a new website showcasing Dekalb’s products and its global plant breeding effort.

By the numbers

Here’s a look at the scope of Dekalb’s corn breeding by the numbers. Dekalb

  • Chips 13 million corn seeds per year to analyze corn DNA
  • Has 5.6 million test plots that if laid end to end would be 24,393 miles long, or nearly equal the circumference of the Earth.
  • Has 72 breeding facilities across 20 different counties.
  • Conducts tests on almost 20,000 acres of corn globally each year.
  • Introduced more than 110 new corn products last year.
  • Sped up the commercialization process by two years.

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