As corn growers in eastern Colorado continue to face drought losses, the advent of a new series of drought-fighting varieties may come as refreshing news.
Monsanto will fanfare its new DroughtGard Hybrids as part of an overall system that combines agronomic recommendations with drought-selected germplasm plus the firm's drought trait in Burlington on Aug. 7.
The firm anticipates the hybrids will improve water use during drought stress, minimizing yield losses where farmers normally achieve between 70 and 13 bushels.
"Improvements can include maintaining more kernels per ear, fewer barren plants and increased water-use efficiency," says Mark Edge, Monsanto's marketing lead for the new line.
This is the first year of field-scale testing of the hybrids for the firm in their so-called "Ground Breakers" trials, notes Edge. "We are seeing DroughtGard Hybrids toughing it out through the drought stress better than standard checks in our trials," he says.
"Ear development and kernel count of these hybrids look very promising," he adds, noting that harvest data is not yet available. In areas of extreme drought, he says Monsanto has experienced some crop losses.
However, initial feedback from Colorado farmers in the field trials this year is positive, he says.
About 250 farmers in Colorado and the Great Plains, Texas and Oklahoma are participating in the field trials.
The Burlington Genuity "Corn-on-Corn" clinic will address a wide variety of agronomic challenges farmers face, Edge says.
The sessions, also set for Nebraska and Iowa in late July and early August, will focus on helping growers of corn-after-corn manage problems. Presentations will focus on fertility, disease management (including drought syndromes), and residue management.
A panel of farmers will discuss their experiences with continuous corn production facing high corn rootworm pressures.
The Burlington meeting will be held at the Old Town Museum Barn from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., and is a free event with lunch included.
For more information and to register for the session go to www.genuity.com/Corn-on-Corn-Clinic.