DuPont Leader: Drought Tolerant Crops
Increasing agriculture productivity to meet growing global demand
for food must be accompanied by an intense, innovative effort to
enhance the environmental imprint of farming to be sustainable,
DuPont Executive Vice President
said yesterday at a DuPont targeted drought
research facility in Woodland, Calif. (U.S.).
“We face the daunting challenge of
nearly doubling agriculture production to meet the demands of the
estimated 9 billion people expected by 2050,” Jim said.
“Success in this endeavor will require new and sustained
levels of innovation, such as improvements in drought tolerance, to
increase productivity of the global food supply without increasing
the stress upon our natural resources or the environment.
|Examining corn at a drought research laboratory.
|Woodland, Calif. (U.S.) drought research facility
“Drought tolerance technologies are part of the next great
wave of agricultural innovation that will improve agronomic
characteristics of plants so they more efficiently use available
resources,” said Jim. “They will further empower
farmers with better product choices to meet growing demand while
reducing their environmental footprint.” Many environmental
factors can reduce agriculture productivity, but drought is by far
the most damaging. In 2009 alone, drought cost farmers $14
billion worldwide. Eighty-five percent of the U.S. corn crop
is affected by drought stress at some time during the growing
season each year, and just four days of severe drought stress
during the peak of summer can cut yields in half.
Woodland is one of two managed stress
facilities DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred uses to
evaluate crop performance under targeted drought or nutrient
stresses. It receives little or no precipitation during the
growing season, allowing researchers to control the amount of water
applied through precision irrigation.