DuPont, Arcadia deal points to more nitrogen-efficient corn

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nitrogen

DuPont and Arcadia have entered into a research and commercial
agreement over corn hydrids that are able to use nitrogen
fertilizers more efficiently, pointing towards a reduction in costs
for corn farmers and a better environmental footprint.

Nitrogen fertilizers - together with advanced genetics and technology - are one of the ways in which corn farmers the world over aim to boost productivity for their crops. According to the International Fertilizer Association, some 12.5m metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer are used on corn around the world each year. The problem is, however, that not all of the nitrogen is taken up by the crop, resulting in economic inefficiencies and some of the excess running off into waterways or volatizing to become a greenhouse gas. What is more, nitrogen fertilizer prices are closely tied to natural gas prices. This means that farmers' margins are being squeezed every time the cost of gas rises - as it has been wont to do for several years. Thus, it follows that as farmers' outgoings on fertilizer are reduced this could have something of an effect on the price of corn which, like other agricultural commodities, has reached sky-high levels in the last year. The terms of the new agreement between DuPont and Arcadia have not been disclosed, but it is known that DuPont's Pioneer HiBred business has now gained the exclusive rights to Arcadia's technology. Pioneer has already made its own progress in developing corn hybrids with better nitrogen efficiency. Its methods include both transgenic and traditional research. The new arrangement with Arcadia is expected to provide a boost to his effort. "The collaboration with Arcadia will build on the nitrogen use efficiency leads we already have at various stages of field testing,"​ said William Niebur, VP of DuPont crop genetics research and development. As for field testing of Arcadia's technology, Eric Rey, president and CEO said that multiple field trials over the last five years have demonstrated "sound improvement in farm economics"​ and "environmentally positive impacts"​. "Pioneer has a long history of innovation and successful commercialization of new products and an extremely strong reputation and high level of trust among farmers,"​ he said. "Their ability to develop and commercialize new corn hybrids utilizing this important technology makes this alliance particularly exciting. "The end result will be products that significantly improve farm economics while helping to reduce the global carbon footprint of agriculture."

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