DuPont Pioneer Targeting Western Canada as a Top-Five Growth Region
The world’s second largest agricultural genetics company, DuPont Pioneer, is targeting Western Canada as one of its top-five regions, along with Brazil, India, China, and the Black Sea, that have the potential to increase yields and acreage of all crops, and corn, canola and soybeans in particular.
The group has been expanding its seed breeding, testing, and marketing programs in the region, along with products that have the yields to increase acreage share on the Prairies.
Pioneer began its focus on Western Canada with the construction of its plant research facility in Carman, Manitoba, followed by the building of its seed facility in Lethbridge six years ago. In addition to these facilities, the company released its 72-day corn, followed by the launch of a 70-day corn variety needing about 2,000 growing degree-day units to better suit the region’s shorter growing season.
The company is also close to launching its own proprietary glyphosate opportunity for farmers that will offer more user flexibility and higher yields, and by the end of this decade, the group is on pace to release a canola variety with Liberty tolerance.
“You look at 20 million acres of canola (in Western Canada) and that will continue to drive the business’s attention on that crop…. There are 500,000 acres of corn, which is only touching the tip of the iceberg, we feel. That could turn into millions of acres. There are 1.5 million acres of soybeans. It could be seven or eight million acres and we will be working towards those,” said Paul Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer.
Noting that wheat has not kept pace with corn, soybean, and canola productivity, the group is also restarting research programs it began in the 1970s and 1980s that will bring “advanced biological systems to wheat breeding through hybridization”. Long-term plans are in the pipeline for a small-cereal program for Western Canada that is expected to result in “a 10, 15 or 20 percent yield bump, through hybridization, improved seed quality, and all the traits we are developing,” said Schickler.