Monday, December 14, 2009

Corn Genome Possibilities

300-bushel averages by 2030?
Posted: Saturday, December 12, 2009 9:25 am
By LORI POTTER Hub Staff Writer 0 comments

KEARNEY — Scientists who recently completed sequencing the corn genome may have ensured success for crop breeders and farmers racing to double 2000 world corn production by 2030.
That means Nebraska farmers who are harvesting a 2009 crop averaging 200 bushels or more per acre in many fields soon could see 300-bushel yields, said Chandler Mazour, manager of Monsanto’s Water Utilization Learning Center south of Gothenburg.

“It’s big on a global scale,” he said about the importance of the genome mapping, because doubling production while using fewer inputs is vital to feeding a world population expected to grow from 6 billion to 9 billion by 2050.

Craig Wietjes of Riverdale, who has been a Pioneer seed representative for 20 years, said, “We are becoming very limited on obtaining or developing more acres for the products to be produced. We now must focus on making our products — mainly corn and soybeans — produce more per acre.”

He described the gene mapping as “a pivotal industry-changing movement.”

Smithfield farmer Dennis Gengenbach, who is vice president of the Nebraska Corn Board and serves on the National Corn Growers Association Research Committee, said, “It’s gonna take a few years to determine what changes we want to make and how. But it’s limited only by your imagination.” Read More

Several of our food crops have been sequenced now, including some of our livestock. Knowing this information will make it much easier for plant and livestock breeders to bring more favorable genes to the forefront and eliminate those that cause problems. Humans have been genetically enhancing their food crops for 10,000 years now and that continues today with new and better technology that will help us grow more food.

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