Drought, stress tolerance important traits for Southern corn hybrids

Drought, stress tolerance important traits for Southern corn hybrids

DURING A CORN/SOYBEAN field day in Faison, N.C., on July 23, Ken Teeter, agronomic service representative for Syngenta, said a key aim of Syngenta’s corn breeding program is to develop both drought tolerant and stress tolerant hybrids that are specifically targeted for Southern growing conditions. (Hart Syngenta Field Day)

Drought tolerance and stress tolerance are important traits for corn hybrids in the Southeast which is why Syngenta and other seed companies incorporate those characteristics in the seed they market to farmers in the region.

During a corn and soybean field day on July 23 at Strickland Farms in Faison, N.C., Ken Teeter, agronomic service representative for Syngenta, said a key aim of Syngenta’s breeding program is to develop water-optimized hybrids targeted specifically for Southern conditions.

“We’re constantly looking at new ways to develop new hybrids that allow you to adapt to various growing conditions,” Teeter said.

Syngenta showcased some of its Agrisure Artesian corn hybrids at its Strickland Farms test plot. The plot includes 12 corn hybrids that were planted April 5. The plot was treated with fungicides and herbicides.

Syngenta’s Agrisure Artesian technology offers season-long drought protection and allows farmers to produce more corn in moisture-stressed environments. “Agrisure Artesian provides a step change in the way corn converts water to grain which allows you to grow more corn,” Teeter said.

N59B, a new Agrisure Artesian hybrid that will be available to farmers next year, features drought-tolerant traits and is part of the Syngenta Strickland Farms test plot. Teeter said N59B is a good variety for highly managed acres offering strong emergence and seedling vigor, allowing for early planting.

Among the stress tolerant hybrids showcased at Strickland Farms test plot is N77P that yields well in high-disease environments, despite low gray leaf wpot tolerance, according to Teeter.

Because Syngenta is a global company, it is better able to develop new hybrids for various climate zones and different growing environments across the world, Teeter said.

“There are geographical zones across the world that are very similar so what Syngenta is doing is identifying these different climate zones,” Teeter said. “For example, there’s an area in China where Syngenta does work that has a very similar climate to North Carolina Some of those hybrids that do well in China could do very well here, in terms of heat tolerance and stress tolerance.”

The soybean plot included five varieties planted May 20. The plot was treated with herbicides and pesticides. Many of the varieties feature stem canker tolerance and root knot nematode protection. Syngenta plans to offer 21 new soybean varieties for the 2015 season. And like its corn program, Syngenta develops its soybean varieties for various growing conditions across the country.

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