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Growing local

By Staff | Sep 17, 2010

Drew Porter, senior marketing manager, central business unit, for Pioneer’s North?American operations, notes that Pioneer is expanding its seed research program in 2011 to better understand how each Pioneer hybrid will perform in a grower’s local area.

BOONE – To help growers put the right seed genetics on the right acre for maximum productivity, Pioneer Hi-Bred plans to expand and localize its seed research program for the 2011 growing season.

“We want to better understand how each Pioneer hybrid will perform in a grower’s local area,” said Drew Porter, senior marketing manager, central business unit, for Pioneer’s North American operations, who explained Pioneer’s “Right Product, Right Acre” strategy during the 2010 Farm Progress Show near Boone.

“It’s all about stepping up the local testing of our products to help growers maximize their yield potential,” Porter said.

The new program, which significantly expands Pioneer’s investment in local research and development, supports a 50 percent increase in the number of experimental products that Pioneer can test to help farmers get the right seed genetics on the right acres.

Pioneer is investing millions of dollars in employees, resources, equipment and trial seed production to support its IMPACT system, otherwise known as Intensively Managed Product Advancement, Characterization and Training trials.

By analyzing its corn and soybean products in localized geographies throughout Iowa and North America, Pioneer’s plots will provide local testing of multiple products at the last stage before they are offered for sale to growers.

“Evaluations will take place on growers’ farms,” Porter said, “which will help ensure that Pioneer’s products are tested against the same conditions that local growers face, including soil types, disease pressure, and other key local growing conditions within specific regions.”

Porter noted that Pioneer is working with its sales staff throughout the countryside to identify fields that are representative of the local geography and agricultural practices. “These local plots will also allow growers to see the newest seed products and technologies firsthand.”

Adapting to meet ag’s changing demands

The IMPACT system replaces Pioneer’s Product Advancement Trials system, which limited testing to about 10 to 15 potential products. In contrast, the IMPACT system can test 100 to 250 potential products at each location to determine the top candidates for commercialization.

Pioneer is also using innovative technology to test the genetic capability of its hybrids to evaluate stalk strength, root strength and brittle snap. The company’s Boreas wind machine, which includes four jet engines, can crawl through a field at one mile per hour and subject fields to winds upwards of 100 miles per hour. “We want to see which hybrids have the stalk strength and root strength we need,” Porter said.

All these testing resources are important as Pioneer develops tools such as the Accelerated Yield Technolog system, which is driving a tenfold increase in the number of inbreds that Pioneer research scientists generate, said John Soper, vice president of Pioneer Crop Genetics Research and Development.

“Data from IMPACT trials will help us understand which Pioneer products offer the best performance in certain environments, allowing us to more readily target specific customer needs,” Soper said.

Contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby by e-mail at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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