DuPont launches new soybean research center

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Research and development

Agricultural firm DuPont is to open a new soybean research facility
to enhance its soybean product development and testing efforts, the
firm announced today.

The move by DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred business is part of DuPont's global effort to reinvest $100m into its seed business to strengthen and drive commercialization of its pipeline of new products. The new center will be located in Lawrence, Kansas, and will develop new soy varieties that specifically address the agricultural environment in Kansas, southeast Nebraska and western Missouri. These will 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, said the firm. "This new center continues to build upon the product performance advantage Pioneer has firmly established in North America,"​ said 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," he said.​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). DuPont's reinvestment plan, announced earlier this year, is designed to increase the firm's innovation and meet growing demand for grain. It includes the addition of more than 400 positions, mainly in research and development in Pioneer Hi-Bred. The reinvestment comes after an aggressive reorganization strategy in the firm's nutrition and crop protection businesses. Announced in December 2006, this involved closing or streamlining 10 plants and slashing 1,500 jobs globally. According to DuPont, its Pioneer business will be expanding R&D efforts at 67 of its 92 research centers worldwide. New positions will be filled by redeploying current employees from other DuPont businesses and outside hiring. Other recent actions taken as part of the reinvestment strategy include the opening of a new corn and soybean seed research facility in Brazil, announced last month and expected to be fully operational by 2008.

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