AGRICULTURE: Doubtful Blessing

A generation ago hybridization of corn —combining the best properties of parent types into a better offspring—revolutionized U.S. agriculture, resulted in upping corn yields by 500 million bu. without putting a new acre into cultivation. Last week U.S. Agriculture Department scientists reported another breakthrough with another feed grain: the flat-leafed, tall-stalked sorghum that waves in many a dry field in the Great Plains. Within five years most of the more than 10 million acres now planted to grain sorghum will be switched to the new hybrid seed, thus raise sorghum output by 20% to 40% on the same land.

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