Source: Syngenta news release
Syngenta today introduced a new $30 million Trait Conversion Accelerator – a highly-automated “controlled environment” corn breeding facility – at its Nampa R&D and seed production facility.
The Nampa facility will house the capabilities and capacity to bring choice in traits to corn growers. Customers of the NK and Golden Harvest corn seed brands, as well as independent seed companies that license Syngenta technologies through GreenLeaf Genetics, will benefit from faster access to more hybrids with the latest Agrisure trait technologies.
According to David Hollinrake, regional director for Syngenta in North America, the Trait Conversion Accelerator will help to shorten product development life cycles and more quickly provide farmers with the corn products they need to be more successful.
“The Nampa Trait Conversion Accelerator is the latest demonstration of how we are putting the farmer first,” Hollinrake said. “Two years ago, we embarked on a five-year, $400 million incremental investment in our North American seeds business, which has enabled us to significantly increase our breeding and product testing capacity and pursue infrastructure projects like the state-of-the-art facility we’re celebrating today.”
Corn growers are currently facing significant economic challenges. Devastating weather events and low commodity prices are making profitability more difficult. To maximize return on investment potential, farmers need elite corn hybrids with the latest trait packages, and Syngenta is delivering on that need.
“Our message for farmers is simple: We’re here for you,” Hollinrake said. “We know it’s tough out there. We’re mindful of that every day. Syngenta is investing in farmers’ success.”
Hollinrake added that Syngenta is balancing its long-term commitment to innovation with a continuing emphasis on products and programs to help farmers improve their return on investment potential every day.
“Syngenta is committed to accelerating innovation. This means developing products that go beyond current limits and providing farmers with unique and meaningful choice,” he said.
Optimizing Trait Conversion to Meet Farmers’ Evolving Needs
When developing corn hybrids that offer agronomic benefits such as insect control, herbicide tolerance and water optimization, scientists employ a breeding technique called trait conversion, which is used to incorporate a desired trait into existing elite germplasm – preserving the performance of the germplasm and adding the benefits of the introduced trait. The Trait Conversion Accelerator will provide the capabilities needed to optimize this crucial process.
According to Trevor Hohls, global head of seeds product development for Syngenta, the Trait Conversion Accelerator will accommodate the majority of Syngenta’s North American corn trait conversion work, which was previously done in open field or semi-controlled environments.
“For us, it’s all about developing better products,” Hohls said. “Investments like we’re making here in Nampa will enable us to help deliver the traits in our pipeline more quickly and ensure on-time product delivery, to help farmers improve productivity more rapidly.
“At Syngenta, we are working to get closer to the markets and the customers we serve. We are strengthening our collaboration with growers, to partner with them, share data and co-create with them, and build lasting partnerships centered on solving their specific challenges. This will help us to ensure that product development is laser-focused in helping to de-risk farming for our customers.”
The Agrisure traits portfolio is the broadest collection of trait technology in the industry. Syngenta’s continued dedication and investment in R&D – more than $1.3 billion each year – will continue to improve and grow the Agrisure traits portfolio.
Hohls added that the Nampa site was chosen for this investment in trait conversion because it offers an excellent combination of climatic factors (e.g., solar radiation and humidity), as well as access to a highly-skilled workforce.
The Nampa investment reinforces Syngenta’s commitment to an R&D presence in the region and the jobs located there. The site expansion will add more than 10 permanent and more than 10 contract employees by the end of 2019, with additional hires in both categories in 2020.