DEKALB® Corn Breeding Program

DEKALB® breeders around the globe have been studying various breeding methods in order to improve root and stalk development within corn plants. Advanced tools, such as molecular breeding and genetic mapping, allow breeders to more accurately identify genes that can lead to the discovery of a potentially higher yielding product, such as a drought/disease resistant products. This season’s drought conditions have served as an excellent testing ground to see if these more advanced products will survive in stressful environments.

Mark Messmer, North America Corn Breeding Lead for Monsanto, explained that breeders around the world constantly strive to improve DEKALB® Corn from year to year. When it comes to testing for drought resistance, he said his team tests under high densities. This can create stress even when there is not a lot of moisture stress in the field, which density can simulate. This process allows the breeders to present products directly to the farmer that will survive in stressful environments.

“The overall goal of the DEKALB breeding program is to provide the highest, most stable yield performance we can find. We are trying to take many different avenues to either create yield or protect yield. What we want to do is to have multiple shots on goals for whatever problem a farmer might encounter in a given growing season,” Messmer said.

Table 1Through the DEKALB brand’s enormous breeding program with over 1,700 years of combined experience in row crop breeding, Messmer is able to collaborate with breeders worldwide. The Monsanto Breeding Technology Organization is one of the best in the industry because of this integrated approach. With an elite breeding group, a vast testing network and a massive germplasm pool​, breeders combine the best genetics with the latest biotechnology to bring farmers a superior product that will ultimately produce higher yield potential with each year, no matter the circumstances.​​​