Monsanto announced recently that it is a major step closer to delivering the first-ever drought-tolerant corn product to the market. In the fourth-annual update of its Research and Development pipeline, the company announced that its first-generation drought-tolerant corn has moved to the fourth — and final — phase before an anticipated market launch. The company also announced that it has submitted the product to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for regulatory clearance.

Drought-tolerant corn is designed to provide yield stability during periods when water supply is scarce by mitigating the effects of drought — or water stress — within a corn plant. Field trials conducted last year in the Western Great Plains met or exceeded the 6 percent to 10 percent target yield enhancement, or about 7 to 10 bushels per acre, over the average yield of 70 to 130 bushels per acre in some of the key drought-prone areas in the United States.