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DuPont Says Its Drought-Tolerant Corn Increased Yields by 8%

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Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- DuPont Co., battling Monsanto Co. for the lead in U.S. corn seed, said its Aquamax seeds boosted yields of the grain by more than 8 percent this year as the U.S. drought provided a test of the new technology.

The yield gain is based on the average results from 2,523 fields with “water limited” environments in comparison with competing corn hybrids, Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont said today in a statement. Aquamax outperformed rivals on 69 percent of the fields under those conditions, DuPont said. In environments with higher moisture levels, the yield advantage was 2 percent with a win rate of 59 percent, the company said.

DuPont is the first of three companies developing drought-tolerant crops to announce preliminary results after the worst U.S. drought in half a century reduced stockpiles of the grain by 12 percent. Syngenta AG’s competing product is called Artesian and Monsanto’s is called DroughtGard.

DuPont will update its Aquamax results in about a month when more harvest data is available, Jane Slusark, a company spokeswoman, said today by phone.

Monsanto grabbed more than 37 percent of the U.S. corn-seed market this year, a gain exceeding 1 point, Don Carson, a New York-based analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group, said in a Sept. 30 note. That surpasses DuPont’s 37 percent share, which was unchanged, he said.

Kelli Powers, a Monsanto spokeswoman, and Pam Molitor, a spokeswoman for Syngenta, declined to immediately discuss this year’s results for their companies’ drought-tolerant seeds when reached by phone today.

DuPont rose 0.2 percent to $50.36 at the close in New York. Monsanto fell 0.7 percent to $90.39.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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