Pioneer Expands Research Program

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, plans to expand a new, innovative research initiative across North America for the 2011 growing season. The program supports a 50 percent increase in the number of experimental products Pioneer can test to ultimately help growers get the right product on the right acre to maximize productivity.

Pioneer’s IMPACT program, which stands for Intensively Managed Product Advancement, Characterization and Training trials, will significantly increase Pioneer’s investment in local research and development, helping to maximize grower productivity and profitability. These plots provide local testing of multiple products at the last stage before they are advanced for sale to growers. Evaluations take place on growers’ farms, emphasizing local testing to match products with regional growing conditions.

The IMPACT program also marks a unique cooperative effort between Pioneer’s research efforts and its sales organization, linking product development and advancement with the company’s “Right Product, Right Acre” strategy to help producers get the best results from each acre.

Pioneer announced the program expansion at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, IA. This follows a successful test launch of the program during the 2010 growing season.

“Tools such as the Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT) system are driving a tenfold increase in the number of inbreds Pioneer research scientists generate,” says John Soper, vice president – Pioneer Crop Genetics Research & Development. "Data from IMPACT trials help us understand which products offer the best performance in certain environments, allowing us to more readily target specific customer needs.”

As the name implies, IMPACT plots benefit from intensive management and evaluation throughout the growing season. Pioneer is hiring local research teams to work exclusively on these plots which are located across North America corn and soybean growing regions. The IMPACT program represents a multi-million dollar investment by Pioneer in resources, equipment and trial seed production.

This system replaces Pioneer’s former Product Advancement Trials (PAT) system. The PAT system served Pioneer well for almost 15 years, but as agriculture has changed, so have the objectives of pre-commercial testing. For example, the PAT system limited testing to about 10 to 15 potential products. In contrast, the IMPACT system can test between 100 and 250 potential products at each location to determine the top candidates for commercialization.

“IMPACT takes the number of on-farm trials and the amount of data collected to a whole new level, exponentially funneling more local information into the product advancement decision process,” says Soper.

The Pioneer sales organization works with research colleagues to help select growers and fields throughout North America to best evaluate products in key growing conditions.

“The Pioneer sales force teams up with research to choose representative micro-environments, including soil type, disease pressure and other key local growing conditions within specific regions,” says Alejandro Munoz, vice president and regional director – Pioneer North America. “This assures us that these products are tested against the same conditions local growers face so our sales professionals can help customers plant the right product on the right acre.”

These plots also allow growers to see the newest products and technologies firsthand and participate in the product and agronomic performance evaluation. The Pioneer IMPACT team plants and harvests the crop and tracks performance. The grower cooperator has the opportunity to interact with Pioneer research scientists, sales professionals, account managers and area agronomists to learn firsthand how potential new products will fit their growing environments.

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