The journey to this year’s corn and soybean harvest started long before spring planting. For Monsanto’s breeding scientists, it began several years ago when they selected a promising young high yield seedling from a winter plot in Mexico, or pollenated a new drought-resistant hybrid at a plot in Hawaii. Make no mistake — those breeders were thinking about harvest when they made those decisions.
Our breeders never rest
In fact, every choice made by breeders working with the Asgrow® and DEKALB® brands happens with results in mind. Of course, yields are always among the results considered, but it goes much further than that. Breeders know that farming is inherently unpredictable, as crops are at the mercy of so much that is beyond the producer’s control. Climate, disease, pests and other factors must all be accounted for, and breeders work for years before a product is ever planted commercially to remove the guesswork from farming.
It all begins with germplasm
The road to harvest results begins with germplasm, and Asgrow and DEKALB breeders draw on unparalleled genetics during the breeding process.
“The breadth and depth of our breeding portfolio enable us to create unparalleled genetic combinations and provide unique solutions to farmers everywhere,” said Mark Brinkman, a line development breeder in Harrisburg, South Dakota.
No winter for Asgrow/DEKALB breeders
Brinkman and his peers have a selection of 5.5 million breeding plots from around the world to choose from when they begin their breeding journey. During the North American growing season, they operate 3 million domestic plots. After American farmers harvest and prepare for winter, those breeders move to warmer climates, drawing on the resources of another 2.5 million plots in 30 countries around the world.
“The two most critical activities that I engage in are selection of new breeding populations in the spring and hybrid selection and advancement in the fall,” said Paul Nelson, a breeder for Asgrow and DEKALB. “Our commitment to providing new and improved DEKALB products every year keeps our breeders looking ahead beyond tomorrow to the fields of 2020 and 2030.”
We share our farmers’ drive for success
This constant desire to improve, to develop new products for a changing climate amid evolving disease and pest conditions — this our commitment to deliver maximum performance to farmers year after year. The Asgrow and DEKALB brands have dedicated a substantial amount of time to these details before they introduce a product commercially.
Farmers themselves play a crucial role in this process, as they provide an external source of feedback. They recall how the seeds performed at planting and mid-season scouting, how they responded to severe moisture or drought stress, or bounced back from a threatening weather event. At season’s end, they also talk about yields. Once the brands have this information, it’s back to the breeding plots for the next round of development, so they can produce the innovation that will help farmers ten years from now.
For Asgrow and DEKALB breeders, satisfaction comes from knowing they are working to help farmers today and farmers tomorrow. For farmers, satisfaction comes from higher yields, from improved ability to withstand the elements, and from the peace of mind that comes from trusting their seed supplier.
Your partner in production
The pressures on today’s producers are numerous and immense. Though the climate is changing, we still can’t predict what next month or next year will be like. Though we know we need to improve our efficiency in using inputs — especially water and nitrogen — we don’t know how much it will rain next season. Though we have worked hard to breed for disease-resistance, we can’t predict where the newest variation of Goss’s Wilt, Northern Corn Leaf Blight or gray leaf spot will appear. The only certainty in breeding, as in farming, is uncertainty.
This uncertainty is what drives our breeders to continue working to address the challenges of climate, disease, pests and resource depletion.
For more information, work with your expert Asgrow/DEKALB dealer or visit agSeedSelect.com.