The following information is a Web Extra from the pages of Farm Journal. It corresponds with the article "The Race Is On." You can find the article in Farm Journal's 2013 Seed Guide.
High-tech Greenhouse Simulates Global Growing Conditions
At the new Syngenta Advanced Crop Laboratory, you can experience weather conditions from around the world in a matter of only a few minutes.
"You can be in Nebraska in one room and in Brazil in the next," says Bill Hlavac, head of site operations for Syngenta.
The ability to simulate weather conditions across the globe makes the facility a type of high-tech greenhouse—the only one of its kind.
"We can replicate climates and go so far as to mimic how plants receive light from the sun," Hlavac says.
The $72 million, 136,000-square-foot facility houses 30 climate-controlled growth environments in all-glass greenhouses. Syngenta officials say the growth environments will enable company researchers to better focus their efforts on developing agricultural traits that optimize crop yields, use resources efficiently and resist various stresses for specific geographies.
The company unveiled the new, state-of-the-art facility last week during a grand opening ceremony in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Design elements of the new facility include: insulated glass walls that provide a virtually shadowless indoor environment; a liquid fertigation system – that can deliver up to five different fertilizer solutions simultaneously – to feed and water plants; the ability to maintain a stable temperature in each room by +/- 2 Fahrenheit and even an automated roof-washing system. A central control system gives Syngenta scientists the ability to monitor all environments remotely.
The building is Green Globes Certified, which recognizes the company’s sustainable construction processes. In constructing the new facility, Syngenta reclaimed a former industrial site and recycled more than 85 percent of its materials.
In the following video, Hlavac provides additional details about the Advanced Crop Laboratory.