Friday, October 5, 2007

U.S. corn yields soar thanks to stellar genetics

From Reuters:

Stellar genetics and favorable weather are boosting corn yields to unheard of levels this harvest season in the United States, agronomists and grains analysts said on Thursday.

"Yields this year are phenomenal, especially in Central Illinois which is a big corn-producing area. We've had adequate weather but nothing fantastic and we have some amazing genetics," said Dennis Bowman, an extension agronomist for the University of Illinois.

Illinois and Iowa annually rank one and two in total corn and soybean production in the United States.

Corn and energy traders are beginning to pencil in a mammoth, record large U.S. corn crop for 2007 due to huge corn acreage, overall satisfactory weather and high-tech farm management practices including planting of exotic corn hybrids called triple-stacked or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The controversial GMO corn is "not cleared for export but with so much demand now for ethanol they're using it and next year Syngenta (SYNN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) is coming out with a quad-stack," Bowman said.

Bowman said the triple-stack hybrid seed corn includes built-in protection from corn borer, root worm and a resistance to harm from such potent weed killing chemicals as RoundUp or Liberty. The quad-stack will have resistance to each insect and to Roundup and Liberty, he said.

"If the ethanol market is going to gobble everything up it (GMO) is not quite as big a concern," Bowman said....MORE