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Pioneer delivers corn advantages in water-limited environments

DuPont
business Pioneer Hi-Bred launched a new generation of corn hybrids developed
and tested to help deliver a yield advantage in water-limited environments,
allowing growers to minimize risk and maximize productivity. These hybrids will
be offered to growers under the Optimum AQUAmaxTM brand name.

These hybrids, introduced
for planting in 2011, contain a collection of native corn traits that improve
water access and utilization and deliver greater yields in water-limited
conditions. The initial class of Optimum AQUAmax innovations will include five
hybrid platforms across a range of maturities and technology packages. While
the 2011 launch size is limited and primarily targeted in the western Corn
Belt, the technology advancement is an important milestone toward the
longer-term objective of bringing breeding and biotechnology solutions to
drought-prone environments.

In on-farm, advancement and
research trials, the Optimum AQUAmax hybrids show a 5 percent yield advantage,
on average, over leading commercially available competitor and other Pioneer brand corn hybrids. The performance of Optimum AQUAmax hybrids is validated
through on-farm and research testing in water-limited environments throughout
the western Corn Belt. From 2008 to 2010, Optimum AQUAmax hybrids were tested
in 223 water-limited efficiency trials concentrated in Nebraska, California,
Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

“The Optimum AQUAmax
products are another example of Pioneer’s right product, right acre strategy,
which focuses on optimizing productivity and profitability to our growers,”
said Paul E.
Schickler, president – Pioneer Hi-Bred. “This further demonstrates
the research Pioneer has dedicated to drought tolerance for more than 50 years.”

Optimum AQUAmax hybrids are
developed through Pioneer’s proprietary Accelerated Yield Technology (AYTTM)
system. This is a suite of tools, including molecular breeding techniques,
which allows research to rapidly scan and identify genes responsible for
increasing yields and other beneficial traits. The AYTTM system allows Pioneer
to bring products with key native genes to market faster.

Within the Pioneer research
network, its targeted drought program includes eight managed stress testing
locations in Woodland, Calif.; Garden City, Kan.; LaSalle, Colo.; Manhattan,
Kan.; Plainview, Texas; Kinston, N.C.; and Viluco, Chile.

“Drought is a complex issue
and can affect crops differently depending on the geography and stress factors
of each environment,” said Schickler. “There is no single gene or ‘silver
bullet’ solution for the drought complex. Managing crops in drought-stressed
environments is critically important to achieving performance results, and
Pioneer continues to partner with growers to offer the best management
suggestions to help maximize profit while minimizing risk.”

Optimum AQUAmax hybrids are
being marketed under the Optimum brand name of the Pioneer family of traits,
products and accompanying programs that enable growers to be more productive
with choices to meet their individual needs.

By Jerry Harrington, Pioneer Hi-Bred

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