Biotech Updates

Genetic Diversity Helps Growers Manage Environmental Uncertainties

November 26, 2010

An expert from Pioneer Hi-bred advised growers to plant diverse lineup of hybrids with different maturities to reach high yield potential and spread harvest dates.

"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 crops with diverse genetic makeup may help minimize risk from diseases, thus maximizing yield potential. A grower may plant one hybrid that resists diseases in a disease-prone field, and another hybrid with higher yield potential on a field with lower disease pressure. Planting crops at different time would aid to avoid growing-season stresses. For instance, in areas that encounter midseason water stress, some growers use the "plant early corn early" technique, where they plant as early as February or March. Thus, the plants have already passed the critical reproductive stages before they undergo stress brought by heat or drought.

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