Withstanding Stress, Conserving Resources
February 20, 2013
Biotechnology is being used to develop crops tolerant to drought, salinity, flooding and excessive heat, which can help farmers better deal with erratic weather patterns. For example, salt-tolerant rice in Africa has the potential to increase rice productivity and profitability for smallholder farmers and spare fresh water for human consumption. Drought-tolerant corn may assist farmers with extreme weather worldwide. Crop stress protection products are also being created to protect major crops like corn, soybeans, rice, wheat and cotton against drought and other conditions likely to emerge from climate change.
Plants that use resources like water and nitrogen more efficiently will help farmers deal with climate change.
Moreover, plants that use resources like water and nitrogen more efficiently will help farmers deal with climate change. For example, water-efficient sugarcane will protect yields and reduce water resource requirements. Nitrogen use efficient (NUE) biotech crops can reduce the amount of fertilizer required to grow them. For instance, trials show that NUE sugar beets produce higher yields than conventional beets with fewer nitrogen applications over multiple years. In test plots, NUE canola yielded 2,800 pounds per acre with two-thirds less nitrogen fertilizer than the conventional variety needed to generate the same yield.