The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our 2019 Annual Report

Short-stature hybrid corn, likely to debut next decade, could dramatically boost crop yields

| | January 14, 2019
Image: Delta Farm Press
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Farmers who have waded and stumbled through corn decimated by green snap or stalk lodging may be in luck in a few years. Bayer CropScience is developing what it calls short-stature corn that company officials say will likely debut early next decade.

“Over the next two to three years, we will demonstrate them (short-stature hybrids) to growers and give them a feel and sense of how they will work on their farms,” says Bob Reiter, Bayer CropScience head of research and development….

Short-stature corn….hybrids [are] several feet shorter than normal hybrids. Harry Stine, founder of Stine Seeds, and Stine scientists have also worked the concept. That firm’s 6- to 8-foot-tall plants look different from today’s typical 9- to 11-foot-high hybrids. More upright leaves and smaller tassels enable plants to harvest more sunlight.

Related article:  'Exotic' genes from obsolete cotton varieties could boost crop yields without sacrificing fiber quality

“As you shorten up the crop, it also makes the crop far less susceptible to key problems, such as stalk lodging and also green snap,” says Reiter. “Those problems can be significant. There have been whole fields that have snapped during the growing season.”

Just by themselves, Stine tests show the more equidistant spacing raises yields an average 3% to 9%. Matching the right high-population hybrid with the right field could pick up another 5% to 12% in yields. Meanwhile, proper fertility, including regularly scheduled N applications, can boost yields another 10% to 20%.


News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend