For the 2013 season, Western Great Plains farmers will have a new tool to help manage drought conditions with the stewarded commercial introduction of Monsanto's Genuity DroughtGard Hybrids. The DroughtGard Hybrids system combines germplasm selected for its drought-tolerant characteristics, the drought-tolerant biotechnology trait and agronomic recommendations.
The system is designed to help the corn plant so it can use less water when drought stress occurs. This improved hydro-efficiency creates the opportunity to conserve soil moisture and can help minimize yield loss from drought conditions. This season approximately 250 farmers participated in Monsanto's Ground Breakers large-scale, on-farm testing program by planting DroughtGard Hybrids on their farms to get first-hand experience with the new product.
"Early results from our Ground Breakers trials this year are encouraging," said Mark Edge, DroughtGard Hybrids marketing lead. "Harvest is just getting started in many areas throughout the Western Great Plains, and Ground Breakers farmers in Central Texas and Eastern Kansas are seeing an up to 6 bushel advantage over competitor hybrids. We believe DroughtGard Hybrids will become an important tool for farmers to help mitigate yield loss caused by drought stress."
Brad Farr, of Cambridge, Neb., tested DroughtGard Hybrids this season as part of Monsanto's Ground Breakers program and says he looks forward to planting the product again next season. "I think it will be very beneficial," Farr said. "All the research they put in shows they are committed to the farmer and helping us get the most out of our acres."
The DroughtGard Hybrids introduction in 2013 will be led by Monsanto's DeKalb brand with limited availability in Monsanto's other brands and licensees. The company is also planning DroughtGard Hybrids field trials across the corn-growing area next year. In 2014, DroughtGard Hybrids availability is expected to expand across Monsanto brands and licensees, providing farmers a stronger line of defense against drought.
"DeKalb is very proud to lead the introduction of the new DroughtGard Hybrids system, giving farmers an additional tool to help protect the yield potential of their DeKalb corn products," said Rick Myroup, brand marketing manager. "Drought tolerance has historically been a staple of our breeding program, and this product launch is the latest example of DeKalb bringing leading innovations to farmers."
Farmers who purchase DroughtGard Hybrids must sign a stewardship agreement committing to use the grain as on-farm feed or to sell the grain for domestic use due to pending import approvals in key export markets. While Monsanto anticipates all key regulatory approvals to be completed during 2013, the company will be working with farmers and the grain trade to assist in identifying domestic markets until all such approvals are received.