Farmers haven’t been trained to listen to their plants. But for Jerry Stoller, CEO of StollerUSA, that is what his company does best. In some circles, you could even call him the “plant whisperer.” Breakfast Jerry While having breakfast with Jerry this morning, he taught a group of journalists how to listen and what we heard is..”epigenetics.” “This is going to be exciting,” he enthused.
According to Jerry, epigenetics is the study of how you enhance DNA in crops that are already there. Currently, he noted, 75 percent of all DNA in a plant is wasted. So let’s delve deeper into how exactly epigenetics is a breakthrough for agriculture. To simplify the science, a change in the plants gene structure occurs without changing the underlying DNA. What scientists are discovering is that when these genes are changed, the “mother” will pass the gene off to her offspring. This is a big deal because the plant has the potential of an exponential yield advantage.
Speaking of yield enhancements, Jerry discussed three that they’re working on.JerryStollerBreakfast
According to Jerry, here are three of the most important things for us to learn. “Can we teach the plant to use nitrogen more effectively so that we can use less nitrogen? Can we teach the plant to become more disease resistant so we don’t have to use as much fertilizer? Can we teach the soybean plant to use nitrogen more effectively so that the nodules don’t go to sleep?”
Ultimately discovering the answers for this is threefold: 1) they will improve sustainability; 2) they will improve the yield per acre; and 3) they will improve the farmer’s profitability at the same time he is becoming even more sustainable in his practices.