“In conventional hybrids, we would have to back cross and back cross and back cross, and every time you do that you gain something that you want, but you lose something, so that’s why you had to do it again and again.”
Technology has refined and sped up that process. Steve Carlson is a seed sales rep for Monsanto
“We look at a couple of things, so one is to increase yields, which is something that’s needed as the population’s growing. We’re averaging seventy million people a year.”
“But we also have to be profitable at it so the growers can stay in business.”
The last ten years of technological breakthroughs are making their marks on production agriculture.
“We’re more efficient than we were in the past. We’re spraying less, we’re using less fuel and we’re producing more food, and at the same time you’ve got a whole different side of the business making sure it’s safe and we’ve got a ten year track record of it being extremely safe.”
Monsanto has some exciting technology in the pipeline.
“In this area we raise one hundred and twenty five bushel corn. There’s a gene in there, for example that will allow us to increase nitrogen uptake that will allow that corn plant to be more efficient in using that nitrogen.”
“Our plan is down the road, we’re going to be putting less fertilizer in the ground and at the same time it allows that corn to increase that yield, because it’s utilizing it more efficient. We couldn’t do that with conventional breeding.”
Carlson says water is a concern almost everywhere in the U.S., and Monsanto has being working on a drought resistant variety of corn for several years.
“ It’s truly remarkable. We are looking at drought tolerant cotton too, but the corn will come before the cotton, we’re looking somewhere between 2010 and 2112.”
I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.