Drought-tolerant corn is designed to provide farmers yield stability during periods when water supply is scarce by mitigating its effects on a corn plant. Field trials for drought-tolerant corn conducted last year in the Western Great Plains met or exceeded the 6% to 10% target yield enhancement — about 7 to 10 bushels/acre — over the average yield of 70 to 130 bushels/acre in some of the key drought-prone areas in the United States .
In any given year, 10 million to 13 million acres of farmland planted to corn in the United States may be affected by at least moderate drought. This first biotech drought-tolerant corn is part of a family of drought-tolerant products Monsanto plans to bring to the market over the next several years.
» OBAMA CONSIDERS RAISING ETHANOL BLEND LEVEL
In March the ethanol industry petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to raise the limit on ethanol in gasoline to as much as 15%, up from the current cap of 10%.
Ethanol groups told the agency that the 10% limit was “a primary reason” for the industry’s recent slump. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack endorsed raising the cap to 12% to 13%.
Environmental agency officials have said that the 10 percent limit has not hit the industry yet but that the cap will make it difficult to meet the nation’s annual usage mandates in coming years. The agency has been struggling with how to legally justify raising the limit, given unanswered questions about the impact of the increased ethanol content on engines, boats and outdoor equipment.
Obama stated he would make the ultimate decision about increasing the ethanol cap, which he said would involve “reconciling a lot of different issues.”