Making storm for stable corn

KWS uses helicopters to test the standability of corn varieties.

KWS is testing the standability of corn varieties with the help of helicopters. Rented specifically for the trials, the helicopters fly over cornfields and simulate storms and other extreme weather events that damage the crop and impact the harvest.

The increase in extreme weather events associated with climate change means standability is becoming an increasingly important plant trait — and not only in corn cultivation. When selecting a variety, farmers consider standability a decisive criteria alongside yield.

If corn stalks are damaged by storms or heavy rains, the supply of nutrients and water in the plant is interrupted. This makes the crops vulnerable to further collapse or fungal disease. Often, they need to be harvested prior to maturity.

With breeding advances, the standability of corn and other crop plants has been improved significantly. In the wake of climate change, however, weather patterns are getting increasingly demanding for the plants. This has led KWS to conduct extensive research into the development of particularly robust varieties that will also ensure high yields for farmers into the future.

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Christina Schulze
Christina Schulze
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