How does your job support modern agriculture in America?
I support the Cotton, Corn and Soy Trait Development function within my company. Trait Development supports modern agriculture in many ways in America. Conserving soil, maximizing land utilization, and water conservation are Trait Development goals for developing modern technologies to assists farmers. Trait Development continues to pursue goals that will help farmers conserve soil, water and still have maximum land usage.
Tilling or plowing the soil creates drift that erodes fields over a period of time. By using “traited” seeds that allow herbicide and insecticide resistance, farmers are able to plow and till less and save soil from erosion. Farmers are able to grow crops that deter insects through the DNA of the plant itself thereby making the plant undesirable to the insects. Also available are “traited” seeds that allow herbicides to be sprayed directly on the plant without harming it;the weeds in the field are destroyed but the crop still flourishes. Therefore the farmer does not have to till for weeds, saving soil and reducing equipment wear and labor!
In today’s environment, water usage is also a major concern. Drought, water use constraints and availability are all issues that farmers face. Through herbicide resistance traits we enable the farmer to maintain weeds in their fields so that the crop is not competing for the water that is being applied through irrigation or natural sources. This gives the crop the most benefit for the amount of water it is able to receive. We are also hard at work to define water affected genes within the DNA structure of plants to develop plants that require less water to successfully produce. This will assist farmers exponentially in the coming years, as water sources decrease in the face of possible future droughts and increasing population use.
Also, by better defining the needs of crops through trait development, we are able to guide farmers in crop rotation techniques that not only allow for soil nutrient efficiencies but also for maximum land usage. By rotating crops, we ensure that the nutrients in the soil can be efficiently used and restored on a cyclical basis, allowing for fields to be used more consistently and successfully over a longer time period.
By using “traited” seeds in their fields, farmers are able to conserve and protect soil and land, reduce and conserve water usage, and protect crops from harmful pests that diminish or destroy them. Much research and testing is done to ensure that the highest quality seeds with the most beneficial traits are made available to the agricultural community. Allowing the farmer to concentrate on yielding the most from his fields instead of focusing so much of his energy on protecting and/or saving his crops from harmful influences while conserving our natural resources is Trait Developments’ goal.