The next several decades will bring hybrids to battle more pests and diseases, optimize inputs and provide specific end-use traits.

Much has occurred in the trait market for corn since the first Bt hybrids were commercialized in the mid 1990s. Today, more than two-thirds of U.S.-planted corn has trait(s) designed to ward off harm from the most damaging corn insect pest.

But the trait pipeline is only in its infancy. Fueled by better, more precise breeding tools and processes, plant breeders are unlocking more secrets to the corn genome, which makes the current line-up pale in comparison to tomorrow’s traits.

But it can take decades for a trait to progress from discovery to the field. Still, major trait-provider companies have a robust pipeline of products hitting the market in coming years. Many are working on similar end-use products, although methodology can differ on how the product is being developed. There are also several collaborations between the major providers to bring these traits to market faster.