Announcer Lead-In: It’s been another exceptionally dry summer across many parts of the Corn Belt, and leading into harvest, and as farmers prepare for harvest, they are anxiously scouting crops for signs of drought stress. A recent Pioneer poll shows that more than half of corn farmers said they were dealing with moderate to severe drought stress this season. While only rain can change fortunes at this point, planning for next year can help ensure fields are more resilient. According to Dan Berning, Pioneer Agronomy Manager for the Western Commercial Unit, it starts with understanding the effects of drought stress. (00:25)
Audio: Dan Berning soundbite 1.mp3 (00:41)
"Under moderate stress levels, we can see shorter plants or smaller leaves if it occurs during the vegetative growth stage. We may miss a few kernels during the pollination period. If it is at a grain fill timing, then we'll tend to see less kernel depth. Under severe drought stress, we can really begin to see the plant tissues of the leaves scald or flash. We can also frequently see some nutrient deficiencies like nitrogen or potassium that are related to the inability of the plant to pull up enough moisture through the roots and bring those nutrients with it. Under severe stress we’ll even see premature death."
Voiceover: Berning says another consideration is the growth stage of the plant at which the drought stress occurs. (00:05)
Audio: Dan Berning soundbite 2.mp3 (00:19)
"A number of research studies have shown that the most detrimental window of drought stress occurs during the flowering window, or while pollinating, and even into the early kernel set. When it happens right at that stage under those tough conditions, we can see 50 percent yield loss quite regularly."
Voiceover: So, what can farmers do to improve drought tolerance in their corn? Berning shares his tips. (00:05)
Audio: Dan Berning soundbite 3.mp3 (00:34)
"Those tactics are going to include things like preserving soil moisture with tillage and residue management considerations that strive to keep that soil moisture preserved as best we can. Good soil fertility and crop nutrient management, especially potassium, can have an impact on how well that plant can deal with drought stress. And then obviously we want to do everything we can to relieve other stresses and protect that plant from things like diseases or insects or weed competition that could impose additional stresses to the crop."
Voiceover: Berning says another critical consideration is hybrid selection. (00:05)
Audio: Dan Berning soundbite 4.mp3 (00:39)
"Picking a hybrid with strong drought tolerance is a key strategy for managing drought stress. At Pioneer, we have Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids that include key traits designed to help withstand drought and protect against yield loss. Our new class of hybrids continue to get better and raise the bar for drought tolerance even higher. On average, drought tolerance genetic gain has improved about a score to a score and a half over the last decade. This means that hybrids that would've scored an eight for drought tolerance a decade ago, using our one to nine rating scale, would be scored closer to a six or a seven if they were being advanced to commercial status today."
Voiceover: For more advice, Berning pointed farmers to their local Pioneer field agronomist or Pioneer sales representative. Or visit the new Drought Management and Solutions section of Pioneer.com. (00:08)
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Visit the Drought Management & Solutions guide.
Pioneer, the flagship seed brand of Corteva Agriscience, 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.
About Corteva Agriscience
Corteva, Inc. (NYSE: CTVA) is a publicly traded, global pure-play agriculture company that combines industry-leading innovations, high-touch customer engagement and operational execution to profitably deliver solutions for the world’s most pressing agriculture challenges. Corteva generates advantaged market preference through its unique distribution strategy, together with its balanced and globally diverse mix of seed, crop protection, and digital products and services. With some of the most recognized brands in agriculture and a technology pipeline well positioned to drive growth, the company is committed to maximizing productivity for farmers, while working with stakeholders throughout the food system as it fulfills its promise to enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume, ensuring progress for generations to come. More information can be found at www.corteva.com.