Monsanto will test its new drought-tolerant corn system, Genuity DroughtGard hybrids, in a new, on-farm trial program called Ground Breakers. Ground Breakers allows farmers to try out pipeline products under commercial-scale planting conditions. About 250 farmers in the Western Great Plains will plant the new hybrids to see how they perform under drought stress.

“Ground Breakers allows farmers to obtain a better understanding of product benefits and an opportunity to give us feedback on the product,” said Matt Kirkpatrick, Monsanto corn traits marketing manager. “A farmer will now have a chance to see how products will perform on their own farm in large-scale trials in addition to plot trials prior to commercial introduction.”

Farmers want to participate in the new program. “It will be nice to see how DroughtGard hybrids perform in my own environment because I will be able to see how it works in my region and compare it to the current hybrids that I’m planting,” said Chris Nelsen, a Mission Hill, SD, farmer.

Monsanto plans to use the Ground Breakers program on other new technologies that have a good fit for the program. “Farmers have asked to see products prior to commercialization,” said Kirkpatrick, “and Ground Breakers is a flexible program that allows us to give farmers a preview. The program will also generate data and farmer feedback to help us make commercial decisions."

Pending key regulatory approvals, Monsanto plans to evaluate a Ground Breakers program for the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System for soybeans. This system is designed to provide farmers with more consistent, flexible control of weeds, especially tough-to-manage and glyphosate-resistant weeds, to help maximize crop yield potential.

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