Breeding for drought tolerant crops

A plant breeder says a changing climate has underscored the need to research more regenerative ag traits.

Michael Kovach with Bayer Crop Science tells Brownfield recent drought in the Midwest will be beneficial from a research and development standpoint. He recalls the selection environment they were dealt during the 2012 drought.

“Products that were selected under that environment are out in farmers’ fields now and they’re performing really well. We got feedback from farmers that if they had had the drought we had earlier this year in the Midwest with the same products that they had in 2012, plants would be dead.”

He says they continue to research regenerative ag traits to help build drought tolerance.

“What root structures are doing the best in drought conditions? What root structures maybe are doing the best under wet feet conditions? Then being able to actually breed for those traits in our pipeline.”

Kovach says it is important to create trials under different weather conditions to prepare for a changing climate.

Brownfield interviewed Kovach during the DEKALB/Asgrow “What’s in the Bag” Breeding Site Media Event in Jerseyville, Illinois.

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