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Genetic Diversity Helps Growers Manage Environmental Uncertainties

Work with seed sale professionals to ensure right product for right acre

DES MOINES, Iowa, Nov. 23, 2010 -- Growers can best manage risk by planting products with genetic diversity, says an agronomy expert at Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business.

“Environmental factors can make the difference between a good and bad year,” says Mike Rupert, agronomy research manager for Pioneer. “Planting a diverse lineup helps spread risk because certain diseases, insects and weather challenges impact crops differently at each stage of growth.”

Planting a diverse lineup of hybrids with varying maturities can help growers achieve the best overall yield potential and spread harvest dates. For instance, if a storm comes through during the growing season, it could greatly impact one hybrid at a given growth stage, causing brittle snap or stalk lodging. However, Rupert notes, a grower who plants multiple maturities may not see the same challenge on all the products.

A range of maturities also allows a grower to stagger planting and harvest dates to take advantage of optimum conditions or to avoid growing-season stresses. For example, in regions that tend to experience midseason water stress, some growers adopt a “plant early corn early” strategy. Such a grower may plant as early as February or March in southern regions. This allows the corn to go through the critical reproductive phases before the plant feels the impact of heat or drought.

A diverse genetic lineup also is key for minimizing risk from diseases while maximizing yield potential. A grower may plant one hybrid that resists diseases in a disease-prone field, while choosing another that features higher yield potential for a field where disease pressure historically is light. Taking extra time to determine the right product for the right acre helps spread risk.

“Growers know their farms, and by choosing hybrids with tolerance or resistance to expected environmental and pest pressures, they can mitigate stress,” Rupert says.

Planting only one or two high-yielding hybrids across an operation increases susceptibility to environmental challenges. Growers may risk seeing substantial crop loss. When choosing a hybrid, growers should look at a number of factors, including the soil nutrient program, the field’s soil characteristics, tillage programs, residue and past disease challenges.

“Pioneer has a vast bank of elite corn germplasm with more than 80 years of unique parent lines,” Rupert adds.

Pioneer supports the Federal Seed Act, which requires seed corn tags or bags identify the unique variety name even though it allows the sale of seed under a different brand name. Growers should carefully check the seed corn "bag tags" to avoid planting hybrids from two different companies that have the same variety name.

Pioneer sales professionals and agronomists strive to serve as a good source of agronomic knowledge for growers.

“Pioneer sales professionals are well-trained and can explain the importance of genetic and maturity diversity," Rupert says. "They have the ability and know-how to help growers place the right product on the right acre."

For more information, visit www.pioneer.com/corn or contact a local Pioneer sales professional.

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, is the world’s leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics, providing high-quality seeds to farmers in more than 90 countries. Pioneer provides agronomic support and services to help increase farmer productivity and profitability and strives to develop sustainable agricultural systems for people everywhere. Science with Service Delivering Success™.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 90 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

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Jerry Harrington
800-247-6803, ext. 6908