First-ever drought-tolerant corn now one step closer to farmers
- BASF and Monsanto frontrunners in making crops more tolerant to drought through biotechnology
- First-ever drought tolerant corn expected to be available for farmers early next decade
- Yield advantages of up to 10 percent in dry seasons
Limburgerhof, Germany, and St. Louis, Missouri,– January 7, 2009 – BASF Plant Science and Monsanto Company today announced that they are a major step closer to delivering the world’s first drought-tolerant corn product to farmers. According to the companies, the product has moved into the final phase prior to an anticipated market launch early next decade. They also reported that Monsanto has submitted the product to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulatory clearance.
“This product is the first result of BASF and Monsanto’s plant biotech collaboration,” said Hans Kast, President and CEO of BASF Plant Science. ”Our joint product pipeline has many high-performing drought-tolerant genes, which make us confident that the two companies can live up to their commitment of delivering successive generations of ever more drought-tolerant crops.”
Drought-tolerant corn is just one of the products currently under development as part of BASF and Monsanto’s collaboration in plant biotechnology, first announced in March 2007. The two companies are jointly contributing $1.5 billion (~ €1.0 billion) over the life of the collaboration, which is aimed at developing higher-yielding crops and crops more tolerant to adverse environmental conditions such as drought.
“In the almost 25 years I have been with Monsanto, the advancement of our drought-tolerant corn product into Phase 4 is one of our most significant R&D milestones, making this one of the most exciting times ever for our R&D pipeline,” said Steve Padgette, Monsanto Biotechnology Lead. Phase 4 is the final phase before market launch. “We are now intensively selecting the best trait-germplasm combinations to deliver excellent drought-stress performance and value to our customers upon launch. This product and other yield improvements that we are developing for farmers will reset the bar for on-farm productivity.”
Drought-tolerant corn is designed to provide farmers yield stability during periods when water supply is scarce by mitigating the effects of drought – or water stress – within a corn plant. Field trials for drought-tolerant corn conducted last year in the Western Great Plains in the United States have met or exceeded the 6–10 percent target yield enhancement over the average yield of 70-130 bushels per acre (equivalent to approximately 4.4 – 8.1 metric tons per hectare) in some of the key drought-prone areas in the United States.
About BASF Plant Science
BASF – the Chemical Company – consolidated its plant biotechnology activities in BASF Plant Science in 1998. Today, about 700 employees are working to optimize crops for more efficient agriculture, renewable raw materials and healthier nutrition. Projects include yield increase in staple crops, higher content of Omega-3s in oil crops for preventing cardiovascular diseases, and potatoes with optimized starch composition for industrial use. To find out more about BASF Plant Science, please visit www.basf.com/plantscience.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from oil and gas to chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals. As a reliable partner BASF helps its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF has more than 95,000 employees and posted sales of almost €58 billion in 2007. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com