Farmers require nitrogen-efficient varieties to achieve stable yields, even when fertilization is limited. KWS has therefore developed corn varieties that continue to be productive even when the soil contains little nitrogen. However, nitrogen-efficient varieties should not only grow well when there is a lack of nutrition, but, if possible, should achieve good yields independent of its nitrogen supply.
To achieve this objective, our breeders and researchers investigate the natural variation of nitrogen efficiency and analyze the genetic make-up of different corn plants that provide stable yields even with minimal fertilization. This has shown that nitrogen-efficiency cannot simply be traced back to genetic make-up. It is instead a complex characteristic, influenced by many sections of DNA.
We then attempt to find out through further analyses which genes or sections in DNA actually play a role. With this knowledge, our breeders can make a more targeted selection, thereby improving the nitrogen-efficiency of corn.