Today, DuPont business Pioneer H-Bred announced a new generation of corn hybrids delveloped to deliver more crop per drop. The hybrids will be offered on a limited basis during 2011 under the label Optimum AQUAmax.
The water efficient hybrids contain a collection of native corn traits that improve water access and utilization. The company began advancing these specific hybrids in 2008. From 2008 to 2010, Optimum AQUAmax hybrids were tested in 223 water-limited efficiency trials concentrated in Nebraska, California, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.
Pioneer claims these on-farm advancement and research trials demonstrated a 5% average yield advantage over leading commercial hybrids tested. The tests were done under dryland conditions. A goal for the coming season is to determine recommendations on how the hybrids might be managed under irrigation.
Initially, a total of eight hybrids will be offered in five hybrid platforms in 102 to 114 day maturity ranges. Marketing will be targeted at the western Corn Belt with production ramping up in 2012 for additional market penetration.
Jeff Schussler, Pioneer Senior Research Manager, Maize Stress Product Development, says growers are not likely to notice any visual differences in these new water sipping plants. “These hybrids partition water more efficiently to provide more economic return to the grower,” he says.
“Drought is a complex issue. There is no single gene or silver bullet for the drought complex,” Schussler adds. “Pioneer has been dedicated to drought tolerance research since 1957. During the last decade, new tools, including molecular breeding techniques, have allowed us to rapidly scan and identify the genes responsible for increasing yields and other beneficial traits.”
Large scale on-farm testing of the new hybrid platforms was conducted in 2010. Monica Patterson, Pioneer senior marketing manager, says the company wanted to ensure the native genes were expressed in elite hybrids before release.