Syngenta Agrisure Artesian Corn is Drought-Resistant

September, 2011

For a farmer, water is king. But rainfall is fickle and even irrigation systems can falter.

That’s why scientists and technicians atSyngenta, a Swiss-based agricultural-technology company with seed operations on Kauai and in Kunia, have developed a new variety of drought-resistant corn. They call Agrisure Artesian the industry’s first “water-optimized” corn technology.

In an era of climate change that threatens more droughts, this could be an important crop for a hungry world.

First Steps:

Though the company also produces genetically modified products, this variety was developed with traditional breeding techniques such as cross-fertilization or hybridization. Researchers isolated particular genes in corn that support resistance to drought.

Tests:

Those drought-resistant genes were introduced into high-yield corn varieties at Syngenta’s labs in North Carolina. Then, the first generation of seeds hit “first earth” on Kauai, where a cycle of growing, testing, rejecting and retesting began under a variety of conditions, from arid to full irrigation.

Yields:

Syngenta believes this new variety of corn will provide at least 15 percent greater yields under water stress than its traditional cousins. Phillipson says Artesian can be successful in often-arid areas of the United States as well as in many developing countries that grow corn on marginal land.

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Author:

Jerry Burris