DuPont Pioneer opened a new research facility in Lethbridge, Alberta, that will focus on providing growers additional, higher-value crop choices and fueling growth of the Western Canada agricultural landscape.

This facility is part of a five-year, CA$35 million investment in research and development for Western Canada. The Lethbridge research facility will further Pioneer work to develop ultra-early maturity corn hybrids, canola hybrids and soybean varieties for the area.

“This ultra-early maturity corn research facility supports the commitment by DuPont Pioneer to provide farmers in Western Canada with diversified and high-value crop choices that may contribute to increasing the profitability of their operations,” said Bryce Eger, business director and president of DuPont Pioneer Canada, at the opening of the new facility.

An opening celebration was held at the Lethbridge research centre July 8, where guests had an inside look at research and development efforts to bring ultra-early maturity crops to Western Canada. The event included local growers, community leaders, industry representatives, employees, sales representatives and leaders from across North America who are part of the Pioneer global research and development network.

“Area growers have expressed interest in growing more corn, and the Lethbridge research center will focus on developing ultra-early maturity corn hybrids,” said Steven King, Evaluation Zone lead, DuPont Pioneer Canada. “Lethbridge is an ideal location because researchers can access current and future corn-adapted acres within a short drive, and the breeding program conducted out of this new facility strengthens our research activities in Western Canada.”

Corn hybrids are categorized according to heat units – how much heat has accumulated through the course of a season, from planting to maturity. New hybrids suitable for Western Canada’s cool climate need to accumulate enough heat and reach maturity before the first autumn killing frost.

Pioneer corn research operations in the Lethbridge area began in early 2014 using temporary facilities and the research team has now moved into the custom-built 22,500 sq. foot research centre outside of Lethbridge.