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Swipe Right on this Phenotype

A new corn trait is in town, and farmers will say yes, please and thank you.

Counting the kernel: Pairwise, a new startup company from the Leaps by Bayer program, has created a new corn phenotype that will have farmers counting more than the usual 16 rows on an ear of corn – an exciting possibility for future yields.

They’re field-testing the corn now, and the company is optimistic farmers could see this trait offered in the pipeline in the next couple of years.

Soundbite: “So, the traits that we’re working on are actually around increasing the amount of productivity per acre that a farmer would see on a per-plant basis in the field,” says Ryan Rapp, chief technology officer for Pairwise.

“That is pretty different than what’s going on in agriculture. Historically, we’ve reached higher yield because we’ve used higher plant density. This is actually about making each individual plant produce better.”

Science says… Most of the time, new transgenes can take up to 10 years from testing to implementation in the field, but with proven science from Bayer and the focused approach from Pairwise, they’ve fast-tracked this to just two years.

This trait would be added to traditional corn hybrids through “stacking” – where scientists can offer a trait portfolio package to farmers to suit their specific needs. Talk about service.

Fields of the new high-count kernel corn plant are being tested in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota.