Sam Eathington, Monsanto vice-president of global plant breeding, is also looking forward to the benefits this collaboration will bring to the public sector.

“University of Florida’s wealth of experience and knowledge is complementary to that of Monsanto’s,” Eathington said.

“With our elite pool of global maize germplasm and commitment of time and resources, we see this collaboration as an excellent opportunity to support public sector research and develop the gold standard of global maize crop simulation models.”

The model will focus on corn varieties used for food, animal feed and fuel production, Boote said. It will also address the yield response of corn to stress factors including heat, drought, disease and pest pressures.

Once completed, the model will help UF researchers develop better assessments of potential climate effects on corn crops throughout the Southeast, and develop risk management information from those assessments.

They’ll disseminate their findings through the AgroClimate website, http://agroclimate.org, a service of the Southeast Climate Consortium.

The new model will incorporate the best components from previous models and will be evaluated using information from global corn production data, Boote said. Before it’s released to the public the model will be tested and verified through the scientific community.

Monsanto’s collaboration in the corn model development effort is a key part of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project, or AgMIP, an influential modeling consortium organized primarily from the agriculture and climate modeling communities.

AgMIP focuses on improving world food security in the face of climate change and enhancing climate-change adaptation capabilities in developed and developing countries, Boote said.

Personnel from UF, Columbia University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture lead the global AgMIP project. Overall, AgMIP involves more than 300 scientists in about 40 countries.