Monsanto Will Soon Test Genetically Modified Drought Resistant Corn
Monsanto Co. is in the process of planning a large-scale test of the first government-approved biotech crop developed to fight back against drought.
Being introduced in the U.S. in 2012 the corn will serve the South and Southwest states where abnormally dry seasons have left certain areas in a drought.
The corn will still require improved agricultural practices on behalf of farmers however its expected to push up crop yield in areas such as the western Great Plains where yield for farmers can often be half of the national average.
Farm trials will be conducted from South Dakota to Taxes and if the corn is a success it will be released commercially in 2013.
According to Newser:
Monsanto developed the corn with a gene taken from a bacterium commonly found in soil and vegetation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture decided against regulating it late last year, essentially approving it for commercial release. The decision is notable because it marks the first time USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has approved a product that has been genetically engineered to resist drought, rather than a pest or herbicide.
Early testing showed no harm to people, animals or the surrounding area and the announcement comes after the USDA in November said it planed to speed up regulatory reviews of biotech crops, cutting the average approval time of three years in half.
The move could help curb corn pricing as the nation continues to consume a growing amount of ethanol and food based products. Public use of corn based products has more than doubled in the last 30 years.
While the new Monsanto corn could be promising most genetically modified corn in varieties in the U.S. have some drought tolerance while others have become more drought resistant over the years. Dupont company Pioneer Hi-Bred has already introduced drought-tolerant corn.
The new corn is being marketed under the name DroughtGard in areas of the U.S. suffering from moderate drought levels.
As Monsanto spokeswoman Danielle Stuart said:
“This isn’t a product that we’re expecting to grow in the desert. You still need water and nutrients.”
Do genetically modified crops scare you or offer hope for the future of farming?