A new study in the Journal of Crop Science shows how well DuPont Pioneer corn hybrids perform in drought conditions. This company news release says the multi-year study demonstrated the efficacy of Pioneer brand Optimum® AQUAmax® maize hybrid seeds.
“Through these and related research efforts, we are making real progress in understanding what contributes to drought tolerance,” said Mark Cooper, research director, trait characterization and development at DuPont Pioneer, and one of the study’s authors. “This will help DuPont Pioneer continue to deliver strong maize hybrids to growers around the world.”
Key Findings from the Study
The multi-year study included comprehensive managed-environment research experiments, on-farm industry evaluation experiments and planting density studies. More than 10,700 U.S. farms provided extensive data comparing 78 of the Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids to a sample of 4,200 industry-leading hybrids used by growers throughout the Corn Belt.
In the on-farm experiments, the Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids were, on average, 6.5 percent higher yielding under water-limited conditions and 1.9 percent higher yielding under favorable growing conditions.
Under water-limited conditions, the Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids yielded better in higher plant population situations (i.e., more plants per acre) when compared to the other hybrids. The yield advantage of Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids compared to other hybrids became greater as plant populations increased.
DuPont Pioneer points out that water is the most limiting factor to agricultural and food productivity, causing annual crop losses of $13 billion due to drought globally. In the U.S. alone, since 1980, major droughts and heat waves have produced losses exceeding $100 billion, and in 2012, a severe drought contributed to historically high grain prices in the United States.