Researchers at Pioneer hi-bred international say that while corn plant productivity is simply amazing, there is still room for improvement — especially when it comes to nitrogen efficiency. Just a 20-percent gain in effective nitrogen use would cut corn fertilizer cost in the United Stated by nearly $800 million annually.

To produce a more nitrogen-efficient corn plant, scientists are looking at two areas. First, they want to refine agronomic practices, like nitrogen application volume and timing, so that the nutrient gets to the plant in a more useful manner. Second, they plan to genetically enhance corn’s nitrogen metabolism. Look for these improved hybrids in the coming years.