BASF Plant Science (BASF) and Monsanto Company (Monsanto) will deliver first drought-tolerant corn product to farmers. According to the companies, the product has moved into the final phase prior to an anticipated market launch early next decade. Monsanto has also submitted the product to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulatory clearance.

BASF and Monsanto frontrunners in making crops more tolerant to drought through biotechnology.

First-ever drought tolerant corn expected to be available for farmers early next decade.

Yield advantages of up to 10% in dry seasons.

“This product is the first result of BASF and Monsanto’s plant biotech collaboration,” said Hans Kast, president and chief executive officer of BASF. ”Our joint product pipeline has many high-performing drought-tolerant genes, which make us confident that the two companies can live up to their commitment of delivering successive generations of ever more drought-tolerant crops.”

Drought-tolerant corn is just one of the products currently under development as part of BASF and Monsanto’s collaboration in plant biotechnology, first announced in March 2007. The two companies are jointly contributing $1.5 billion (~ EUR1.0 billion) over the life of the collaboration, which is aimed at developing higher-yielding crops and crops more tolerant to adverse environmental conditions such as drought.

“In the almost 25 years I have been with Monsanto, the advancement of our drought-tolerant corn product into Phase 4 is one of our most significant R&D milestones, making this one of the most exciting times ever for our R&D pipeline,” said Steve Padgette, Monsanto Biotechnology Lead. Phase 4 is the final phase before market launch. “We are now intensively selecting the best trait-germplasm combinations to deliver excellent drought-stress performance and value to our customers upon launch. This product and other yield improvements that we are developing for farmers will reset the bar for on-farm productivity.”

Drought-tolerant corn is designed to provide farmers yield stability during periods when water supply is scarce by mitigating the effects of drought – or water stress – within a corn plant. Field trials for drought-tolerant corn conducted last year in the Western Great Plains in the US have met or exceeded the 6–10% target yield enhancement over the average yield of 70-130 bushels per acre (equivalent to approximately 4.4 – 8.1 metric tons per hectare) in some of the key drought-prone areas in the US.