Henry A. Wallace, founder of what is now Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont Business, began testing corn inbred combinations to create better performing, higher yielding corn hybrids on 40 acres of farmland just outside Johnston, Iowa, in 1920. Today, Johnston is headquarters for the international Pioneer Hi-Bred seed business and the largest DuPont research center dedicated to advanced crop genetics.
Johnston is expanding as the demand for agriculture solutions increases and will include more than 200,000 square feet of greenhouses and an additional 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratories and offices over the next few years. In addition to greenhouses and labs, Johnston has approximately 500 acres of research fields. About 1,000 researchers at this site are dedicated to improving agriculture productivity through seeds with better herbicide tolerance, disease and insect resistance, agronomic performance, and increased end-use value.
Researchers are combining traditional and new technologies to change the way seed is being produced. Enabling technologies such as precision phenotyping, the Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT™) system, FAST Corn, Doubled Haploids, Ear Photometry and Plant Genomics and Molecular Phenotyping are utilized to deliver improved crop genetics to help meet the needs of a growing population whose demand for food, feed, fuel and materials continues to increase.
“Agriculture may be the biggest innovation challenge of this century as global population continues to increase while our arable land resources remain the same or in some cases decline,” said John Bedbrook, vice president of DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology. “We are constantly adopting and applying new technologies to develop the best, highest performing products in the shortest possible time for our customers. Johnston is part of the DuPont global agricultural research network, and the benefits of work being done here can be seen around the world through innovative agriculture solutions.”