Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is using science to deliver new-to-the-world capabilities from agriculture to society. Through advanced plant breeding, biotechnology and other innovations, Pioneer Hi-Bred has become the world's leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics to farmers worldwide. Pioneer Hi-Bred has developed high-quality hybrid seeds that optimize desired traits, as well as maximize crop yield and grain quality.
The enormous advancements from Pioneer Hi-Bred in traditional breeding, biotechnology and other processes provide Pioneer Hi-Bred customers with specific seed products to meet end-use needs. From specialized corn hybrids for use in renewable sourced products and biofuels to soybean varieties with unique characteristics for use in industrial applications, Pioneer Hi-Bred has innovative solutions. For example, Pioneer Hi-Bred is working with DuPont to increase the amount of starch in corn resulting in more efficient fermentation processes and higher outputs for producing renewably sourced products and biofuels.
Eighty years ago, the development of hybrid corn sparked a revolution that helped to dramatically increase productivity. Since then, Pioneer Hi-Bred researchers have invented many plant improvement technologies. Recent advancements in plant breeding, biotechnology and other technologies are creating new and better products faster than ever.
Since 1996, genes from naturally occurring microbes and other microorganisms have been added to corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and other crops, to improve farmers' productivity. These transgenic improvements help farmers preserve yield potential in the seeds they plant by providing insect resistance or herbicide resistance allowing them to better control weeds in their fields.
Pioneer Hi-Bred has the largest collection of corn-breeding germplasm. Pioneer Hi-Bred researchers are using molecular breeding to identify traits for benefits such as drought tolerance, disease resistance, and agronomic improvements such as root and stalk strength. After the specific genes for the traits are identified, genetic material is marked and used to create new hybrids with improved performance potential.
Product development time has been greatly reduced through the use of new technology. Traditionally, development of a genetic inbred line used to create the commercial hybrid products would take up to seven plant generations to accomplish. Now, with biotechnology advances, plant breeding efficiency and effectiveness is improved by generating inbred lines with 100% purity in just one plant generation.
The world's demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber changes and grows with every passing day. Increasing populations, evolving diets, and most recently, increased demand for biofuel production, have pressed farmers to increase grain production. With each challenge, the agriculture industry and Pioneer Hi-Bred have risen to meet the demand.
In the last half century, agriculture has kept pace with increasing demand as a result of advanced plant breeding, biotechnology, and other innovations. This comes while land available for agriculture is being lost to urban expansion in many parts of the world. Furthermore, these advances still hold huge potential to continue the impressive productivity gains that farmers have demonstrated in the past. For example, the average corn yield in the United States in 1945 was about 33 bushels per acre. Today, the average U.S. yield is about 150 bushels per acre. By delivering more bushels per acre with reduced water and fertilizer resources per unit of production, protected lands or croplands used for food production can remain that way.
Ken McCauley, President of the National Corn Growers Association, sees great promise for technology to help grow the crops that will create bio-based materials.Play Video