Growers Gearing Up to Plant Monsanto's New DroughtGard Hybrids

On-farm trials of drought tolerent corn will be conducted in Western Great Plains.

Published on: Feb 22, 2012

U.S. farmers across the Western Great Plains this spring will be the first to plant Monsanto's newest drought-tolerant corn system as part of on-farm trials. The hybrids, made available to growers under the new DroughtGard Hybrids name, are designed to help farmers mitigate the risk of yield loss when experiencing drought stress.

DroughtGard Hybrids are the newest offering from the Genuity corn family. These hybrids combine germplasm selected for its drought-tolerant characteristics and the biotechnology drought-tolerant trait with agronomic recommendations. For the 2012 trials, Monsanto plans to have Genuity VT Triple PRO, Genuity VT Double PRO and Roundup Ready Corn 2 technologies serve as the agronomic trait platforms for DroughtGard Hybrids.

"DroughtGard Hybrids have shown strong performance in our trials and demonstrated an advantage over competitor products," said Mark Edge, DroughtGard Hybrids marketing lead. "Our on-farm trials this season are focused on giving farmers a chance to see the performance of these hybrids and to give us feedback to help us make commercial decisions."

The 2012 large-scale, on-farm trials, will be taking place with approximately 250 growers on up to 10,000 acres across the Western Great Plains, the product's target launch area.

"As a grower, I look to test new tools and technologies that strengthen risk management on my farm," said Clay Scott, a Southwest Kansas grower. "Water is a constant focus, so the opportunity to plant DroughtGard Hybrids this growing season will demonstrate the benefits that drought-tolerant corn can deliver in my fields."

For several years, Monsanto's drought breeding and testing program has specifically targeted the Western Great Plains. "By focusing our testing where our customers are located, we can maximize the opportunity to deliver integrated breeding and biotechnology for drought," Edge said. "We also plan to work closely with growers to assist with agronomic recommendations."

In December 2011, Monsanto achieved a key milestone toward U.S. commercialization when the company received full deregulation of the drought trait from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Import approvals in key corn import markets with functioning regulatory systems are in progress.

The drought-tolerant trait is part of Monsanto's Yield and Stress collaboration in plant biotechnology with Germany-based BASF. The collaboration is aimed at developing higher-yielding crops and crops more tolerant to adverse environmental conditions, such as drought.