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DuPont joins the DROught-Tolerant Plants (DROPS) Research Consortium

DuPont has joined the DROught-Tolerant Plants (DROPS) Research Consortium, contributing expertise and a state-of-the-art modeling platform for maize research. DROPS, a European Commission-sponsored consortium, is developing novel tools and breeding strategies that advance drought-tolerance research in maize and other crop plants.

As a member, DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred will share expertise in drought research to help bring solutions for drought tolerance faster through science.

Drought is a universal challenge that must be addressed to feed a hungry planet. It will take many of us working together in collaborations, like DROPS, to bring farmers solutions for combating drought globally. Innovations developed through this collaboration will complement our own research program, which has been providing solutions for farmers for more than 80 years.

—John Soper, vice president, Pioneer Crop Genetics Research and Development

Water is the single largest input to agriculture, with irrigation estimated to account for 70% of the total use of fresh water. Drought tolerance is a complex issue, involving many genes with overlapping/interacting effects. Because of the complexity, field testing can be costly and time consuming. Modeling tools such as this platform are helping to improve the efficiency and to shorten the timelines for analysis and crop development.

The Pioneer maize crop modeling platform, developed through a long-term collaboration between Pioneer and researchers at the University of Queensland, facilitates the efficient advancement and development of drought-tolerant hybrids, ultimately helping growers meet the increasing demands on agricultural productivity. This platform allows researchers to input a number of specific characteristics about how experimental plants behave under test conditions, and facilitates prediction of those few that will respond best under drought conditions in the field.

The DROPS Consortium was initiated by the Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique (INRA) of France through project leader Francois Tardieu. Pioneer is the only US-based member of the European-led consortium.



With future warmer climate, many agriculture areas will not have enough water to sustain current crop level. Drought resistant hybrids are a must if we want to feed 10+B people + produce liquid fuels for our gas guzzlers.


Fuel can come from grasses that are not feed, along with solar thermal/electric hydrogen and CO2 to make hydrocarbons. 100 million of the 600 million acres of pasture land could produce more than half the fuel for personal cars in the U.S. each year.


USA's vehicle fleet could double by 2050 and double again by 2100.
USA's population could also double by 2100. All under used farm land will have to be progressively returned to full productivity. Secondly, warmer, drier climate and lack of fresh water may reduce productivity in many areas. It is one thing to WANT and another to be able to do it.

USA has no current shortage of good productive farm land to feed all of its population, at least for the next 50+ years or until such times as we mismanage it or use it to feed our gas guzzlers.

It would be wiser to switch to electrified vehicles and progressively but aggressively increase clean electricity production. That can be done.


We can turn the 100 million acres over to food production, because the grasses have left carbon in the soil. If we rotate from pasture to fuel to food, by the time we need another 100 million acres for food, we can be running on solar powered EVs. Buy time to make time, we have no more time to waste.


USA could buy time with increased direct and indirect use of (NG + SG + CG) from current 22.8 trillion cu.ft./year to as much as 50 trillion cu.ft/year. USA has known SG reserves (862++ trillion cu.ft.)for 40+ years and much more for CG. The world has enough SG (6609++ trillion cu.f.t) for at lease 62 years.


We can shift from using as much natural gas for heating and peak power plants in the summer by using solar thermal and PV on more roof tops. The natural gas saved there can be used with biomass gasification to make fuels for hybrid cars. There are ways of securing our energy future, we are just not doing them now and we need to.

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