December 10, 2008


Triple-stack corn to occupy 34 million to 35 million US acres in 2009

Triple stack corn seeds, which enable resistance to corn borer, root worm and herbicide, will occupy about 34 million to 35 million acres of US cropland in 2009, a Monsanto Co. executive said Tuesday (December 9).

Monsanto estimates the plantings, which are projected to increase 17 percent over 2008, to represent about a third of the US total crop.

Corn yields have doubled since 1970 and are poised to double again in the next 20 years, said Robb Fraley, Monsanto's executive vice president and chief technology officer, at a Canaccord Adams agricultural industry conference in Toronto.

He said new yield trials offering side-by-side comparisons of Monsanto's triple-stack to other products represented a 9.6 bushel per acre yield advantage. The products also offer greater dry-down time, which enables a more efficient harvest, he said.

Triple-stack seeds mark the beginning of a "renaissance" in plant breeding progress, Fraley said.

By 2010, a SmartStax product will combine eight different genes targeted to blanket 65 million acres, he said. The company will move into 20-gene stacks within the next decade.

A doubling of soy and cotton yields is also targeted for 2010.

The products now on the market represent the tip of technological iceberg, Fraley said.

Genes under development for use in soy crops are capable of rendering soyoil akin to olive oil, he said. Also in the works are products offering greater drought tolerance and improved nutritional profiles.

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