Cotton that Can Stand the Heat

December 7, 2009 06:00 PM

Pam Smith, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
Cotton growers typically spend a lot of their summers wishing for a good rain. In coming years, that burden may be lifted slightly by varieties that sip rather than suck down moisture.
Last week Bayer CropScience announced it has signed a licensing agreement for drought tolerance technology in cotton with FuturaGene PLC, a London-based plant genetic research and development firm.
The agreement grants Bayer CropScience worldwide rights to the drought technology. FuturaGene receives an upfront license fee, followed by development milestone payments and trait royalties on sales of cotton seeds that contain this technology.
The technology licensed to Bayer is intended to protect the yield of cotton plants when they are subjected to drought. The company estimates drought is one of the primary environmental limits of crop yield—hampering the cultivation of crops on more than 40% of the earth's land surface.
A next generation of drought tolerance in cotton is in line with Bayer's strategy to explore multiple approaches to drought tolerance and to bring high-performance trait solutions, according to a statement from Linda Trolinder, Global Cotton R&D Manager in the BioScience business group of Bayer CropScience. Bayer markets cotton seed under the FibreMax brand.
Stanley Hirsch, CEO at FuturaGene notes that company has established broad applications of its technology in key crops including eucalyptus, poplar, alfalfa and corn.
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