Biotechnology eases the impact of a dry summer
(NC)—The effects of last year's hot, dry summer and the resulting poor corn crops, rippled out well beyond the farm gate to drive up the cost of many foods.
Knowing that drought is one of the challenges farmers frequently face, researchers have been looking at ways to make crops more drought resistant.
“What researchers are looking at are ways for a plant to use water more efficiently so that periods of extended drought are going to have less of an impact on the overall growth potential of the plant,” explains Dr. Stephen Yarrow, vice-president of plant biotechnology at CropLife Canada. “The potential is really very exciting when you think of things like the drought we experienced last summer, or the possibility of growing crops in areas that have – until now – been too arid for growing food.”
Although not yet approved for sale, drought-tolerant corn varieties were in the testing phase last summer and showed a four to eight per cent yield increase over the non-enhanced varieties. Eventually, researchers expect to see that boost to yields increase to about 15 per cent.
“Canadian farmers are big adopters of new technologies,” Yarrow adds. “They have to be in order to be competitive.”
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