The Race Is On

July 26, 2013 08:03 PM
The Race Is On

Companies unveil new R&D facilities focused on traits 

By Rhonda Brooks and Jeanne Bernick

At the new Syngenta Advanced Crop Lab, you can experience varying weather conditions from around the world.

"You can be in Nebraska in one room and Brazil in the next," explains Bill Hlavac, head of site operations for the company.

Syngenta’s unique high-tech greenhouse is one of at least three research and development facilities that opened this year. AgReliant Genetics and DuPont Pioneer are also in construction mode.

The $72 million, 136,000-sq.-ft. Syngenta facility located in Research Triangle Park, N.C., houses more than 40 growth environments, 30 of which are in all-glass greenhouses. The facility has a liquid fertigation system that can deliver up to five different fertilizer solutions to feed and water plants. A central control system allows Syngenta scientists to remotely monitor all environments.

Group effort. In June, DuPont Pioneer opened its Johnston Innovation Center in Johnston, Iowa. This is the company’s second innovation center in the U.S. and 12th worldwide. The 3,500-sq.-ft. space showcases new company technology, applications and products created to meet the world’s biggest challenges, including food security, energy and protection.

The goal of the innovation center is to provide an environment for collaboration among more than 10,000 DuPont scientists and engineers with customers, government officials and academics, according to Ellen Kullman, DuPont chairman and CEO.

Regional focus. In Kansas, AgReliant Genetics is expanding its corn research efforts by adding a breeding program facility and nursery to accommodate the company’s continued business growth in the western Corn Belt states. Research will focus on products suitable for Kansas, western Missouri, southwest Iowa and southern Nebraska. The facility will include 12,000 sq. ft. of seed-packaging laboratories.

You can e-mail Rhonda Brooks at

To read more about each of these new research and development facilities, visit

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