BROOKINGS, S.D. -- Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. plans to increase its research test plot capacity significantly and add three more researchers at its Brookings, S.D., Research Center.

Since its establishment last April, the Pioneer Research Center in eastern South Dakota is making good on its plan to bring products to market faster for local growers by focusing on inbred development and earlier maturing hybrids for the region.

"We've had a remarkable start in Brookings with an extensive program in 2006," said Gary Weber, research coordinator at the Brookings location. "We're reinforcing our already strong research platform to deliver the high- quality products customers expect from Pioneer in a much shorter timeframe."

The research team in Brookings tests numerous product offerings for the region, including new technologies like Pioneer(R) brand corn hybrids with Herculex(R) XTRA insect protection traits. These traits protect corn from European corn borer, corn rootworm and western bean cutworm, which are significant pests in the region.

Two new 2006 introductions, grown commercially for the first time in South Dakota this past season, illustrate the start of a great package for the South Dakota corn-growing areas. Growers planting Pioneer hybrid 38F33, bred for its outstanding drought tolerance, experienced excellent yields under the extremely dry conditions in the state this past year, in addition to realizing an exceptional defensive agronomic trait package. A triple stack version of that product, Pioneer hybrid 38F35, will be available to growers for 2007 planting.

Another new product, Pioneer hybrid 37Y12, demonstrated great top-end yield in 2006 and complemented its drought tolerance with fast dry-down and good stalk and root lodging resistance. A triple stack version of that product, Pioneer hybrid 37Y14, will also be available for 2007 planting.

These triple stack offerings include Herculex XTRA insect protection and the Roundup Ready(R) Corn 2 trait. In addition, all hybrids with Herculex technology contain the LibertyLink(R) gene which provides tolerance to Liberty(R) herbicide.

"By focusing on specific yield-test locations, we will bring our customers in the northern Corn Belt region commercial hybrids that are 'customized' for this area to bring them the greatest value," Weber said. "Product offerings for South Dakota growers in 2007 will include all of the technology options available to growers across North America."

Pioneer is expanding on a strong foundation of research in South Dakota. Pioneer first conducted research in South Dakota in 1968 to provide breeding for drought and stress environments and has maintained continuous yield testing in the state for the past 38 years.

"Growers will benefit from hybrids that are positioned to meet their specific needs and from products being commercialized at a faster rate," Weber said. "With research efforts at an all-time high, Pioneer and our customers have a lot to look forward to in this region."

DuPont recently announced increased investments in its plant genetics business, which will speed products to market even faster for growers in South Dakota.

Pioneer has a strong presence in South Dakota. In addition to its Brookings Research Center, it has more than 100 sales people in the state.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., a subsidiary of DuPont, is the world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics, crop protection solutions and quality crop systems to customers in nearly 70 countries.

SOURCE: Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.