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ZURICH (Reuters) - Syngenta's drought-tolerant corn seeds performed "extraordinarily well" in a limited planting during the United States' worst drought in half a century, the Swiss company said on Friday.
The world's largest agrochemicals company launched its Agrisure Artesian corn variety this year, expecting a 15 percent higher yield compared with traditional varieties that are not designed to do well during water shortages.
"Everything we see visually and the testing we do pre-harvest gives us enormous encouragement about the superiority of Artesian hybrids," Davor Pisk, head of the seeds division, told Reuters on Friday.
Syngenta says that Agrisure uses water more efficiently and can better withstand drought stress, thereby minimising crop losses.
Chief Executive Mike Mack told Reuters this month that Syngenta was targeting about 400,000 acres to be planted with Agrisure next year, up from 15,000 acres in 2012.
The launch, however, was overshadowed by the severe drought in the U.S. grain belt, which reduced the nation's corn crop by nearly 5 billion bushels - worth about $40 billion at today's prices.
Chicago Board of Trade corn futures hit a record high of $8.43-3/4 a bushel last month as the drought in across the U.S. Midwest scorched corn in its key yield-determining pollination phase.
By Andrew Thompson and Caroline Copley; Editing by David Goodman