DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred business will open a new soybean research center in Lawrence to enhance soybean product development and testing efforts for customers in Kansas, southeast Nebraska and western Missouri, the company announced last week.
The expansion is part of a global effort by DuPont to reinvest $100 million into its seed business to strengthen and drive commercialization of its pipeline of new products.
"This new center continues to build upon the product performance advantage Pioneer has firmly established in North America," says Dennis Byron, Pioneer vice president of crop product development. "With annual yield increases more than triple the industry average, Pioneer brand soybeans developed with proprietary genetic markers continue to outpace the competition, reinforcing Pioneer as the brand leader in soybean performance."
In 2006, Missouri farmer Kip Cullers set a new world record in soybean production at 139 bushels per acre with Pioneer brand soybean variety 94M80.
The new research center will play a vital role in developing and commercializing new varieties to meet the needs of area customers. Those include varieties with tolerance to drought, soybean cyst nematode, charcoal rot, stem borer, sudden death syndrome, Phytophthora root rot and other insect and disease protection traits. All are significant yield robbers in the geography covered by the new center.
"The research center's breeding program will be rapidly integrating those traits into elite Pioneer germplasm," Byron says. "Locating the center in Lawrence enables our soybean research teams to work more closely with area farmers to make better product advancement decisions that will benefit farmers in Kansas, southeast Nebraska and western Missouri."
Pioneer is currently leasing an office building and land, with plans to build a permanent facility in Lawrence in the near future.
With the opening of the Lawrence Soybean Research Center, Pioneer has three crop-specific research locations in Kansas. The other two locations are in Garden City (corn) and Manhattan (sorghum).