Johnston, IA DuPont Integrated Seed Science Center

It’s been two short years since the doors officially opened at DuPont’s Integrated Seed Science Center in Johnston, Iowa, but the impact of work being done at this 20,000 square foot showcase facility is already evident in the new seed treatment products brought to market and among the growers who rely on them.

“Our focus here is on production evaluation, formulation, recipe and seed testing, training and stewardship and we contribute to a robust field trialing network that helps us pull together the best seed treatment recipes for our customers,” said Jeff Daniels, DuPont’s global technical agronomy and application lead for seed treatment.

A hallmark of the facility is its capability related to machines and process. The center boasts seed treatment application and drying equipment from multiple manufacturers, an environmental chamber and a new microbiology laboratory—all of which are used to simulate the range of conditions seed treatment must perform in.

“We have the capability to mimic a commercial production plant or other downstream treating facilities that allows us to scale up a new product offering with real world equipment. We can use our environmental chamber to create whatever seed and humidity situation we want so that from Grand Forks, North Dakota to somewhere in Arkansas we know how the treatment will perform,” Daniels said.

Staff there also study how the seed may perform once it’s in the field, ensuring it flows easily and accurately through planter meters, and measuring potential dust-off with the goal of keeping treatments on the seed and from going off target.

In addition to testing DuPont’s proprietary products, the center works with third-party customers to evaluate products, study compatibility and perform field trialing work. Since it opened in 2015, the center has treated 20,000 commercial bags of seed for trialing purposes.

All of those tools are great, but the staff knows they can’t just rely on machines to deliver in-field solutions. The people working with seed treatments, from application to planting, need to understand the processes involved and have the necessary training for proper handling.

“We host more than 1,000 visitors at the Integrated Seed Science Center every year. They include production plant employees, sales representatives, third party seed customers and our grower customers and last year we brought in state and federal regulators to explain what we do here.” Daniels said.

“Training may be as simple as a tour of the facility, letting guests go out and be around the machines. Other times we delve into product education or highlight the processes we do here. No matter who the guest is, we talk about stewardship and the proper use of these products for the sake of the environment.”

Making that connection to guests is the Integrated Seed Science Center’s staff.

“We have a robust team with diverse capabilities and, as a result, we’re able to deliver results,” Daniels said, who’s spent the last eight years with DuPont and previously had nearly 20 years of experience with a seed treatment provider.

That team includes operations manager Wade Wiand, a formulation chemist who has 18 years of seed treatment experience; Andrew Stein  , who oversees the production plant process and keeps the machines running, and Robert Graves, a liaison to seed company production plants. Additionally, staff members based elsewhere, like Ray Kaczmarczyk and Sergio Rodriguez, reach out to third party customers around the globe. Additionally, the staff is proud to have been a collaborator for the American Seed Trade Association’s “Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship.”

“Seed treatment recipes are becoming more complex and there’s a greater need for doing extensive testing and training. Here at DuPont we have the necessary capabilities all in one place—our knowledge of seed, chemistry and technique of assembly,” Daniels said.

For more information about the DuPont Integrated Seed Science Center, contact David Borgmeier, North America Sales and Marketing Senior Manager, at david.borgmeier@pioneer.com.