Making Every Last Drop Of Water Count

Beginning with limited irrigation acres or Western dryland regions, new corn hybrids that optimize available water could improve no-till yields by 15% to 25%.

As a no-tiller, you can do everything seemingly right to give your crop the best chance to hit maximum yields, but if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, it can all go for naught.

Perhaps nobody understands that more this year than Eastern Corn Belt producers who were set up for big yields, only to see rainfall end in mid-July and not return until after harvest. When their corn needed moisture, there was none to be had to produce the highly hoped-for, bin-busting yields.

Water is considered the most limiting factor in crop production. That’s why new corn hybrids designed to maximize available water could be highly welcomed by some no-tillers.

Picking The Best Genes.

At Syn-genta’s recent Media Summit, the company gave details about its new water-optimization hybrids, branded as Artesian, which will be available to no-tillers in 2011.

An appealing aspect of Artesian hybrids is that they don’t contain a biotech trait that needs full approval, but instead genes naturally expressed in corm plants have been identified that allow them to make the best use of water under stressful situations.

Bruce Battles, an agronomy marketing manager for Syngenta Seeds, says researchers are simply identifying and selecting the best genes available today.

“When I was growing up as a kid, I had certain friends who were better at certain things. I could do the same things they could do, but they were better at it,” he says. “What we’ve said is, ‘He’s doing something better and this kid is doing something…

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Darrell Bruggink

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