Optimum® AQUAmax® Products

DuPont technologies

Drought affects global agricultural productivity more than any other type of stress, and related costs are affecting the whole value chain, affecting farmers, cattle ranchers, truckers and more. Globally, water is the most limiting factor to agricultural productivity, causing annual crop losses of $13 billion due to drought. On average, 85% of corn acres annually will experience some level of yield reduction due to drought stress that occurs during the growing season. DuPont Pioneer, the largest producer of hybrid seeds for agriculture, has been working on drought tolerant corn for over 50 years. DuPont Pioneer is the leader in the development of drought tolerant corn hybrids through a multiphase approach that delivers total product performance minimizing risk and maximizing productivity on every acre.

Solution description

Optimum® AQUAmax®products deliver a yield advantage in water-limited environments and offer top-end yield potential under optimal growing conditions. Drought tolerance is controlled by a large number of genes and is heavily influenced by environmental factors (e.g. heat, water stress, soil types). Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids are equipped with strong agronomics and the latest technology packages, including key native traits that improve root systems and the plant’s ability for silk emergence under drought stress. These hybrids are tested in local environments and were advanced based on overall performance and agronomic fit for the specific geography, ensuring optimized performance within local geographies.


In the US, in 2013 Optimum AQUAmax corn products were planted on 2.8 million hectares. Demand continues to increase, product availability has doubled since 2012 now offering 48 different hybrids. Across the 2011-2013 growing seasons, on more than 42,000 side-byside comparisons with competitive products, Optimum® AQUAmax® products have shown:

  • 4.3 metric tons per hectare yield advantage in water-limited environments in 5,203 competitive comparisons with a win ratio of 67%
  • 2.26 metric tons per hectare yield advantage in normal growing conditions in 36,881 competitive comparisons with a win ratio of 57% Economically speaking, the impact of launching Optimum AQUAmax hybrids helps capitalize on a $13 billion drought damage market.