For only being open a year, the Syngenta North America Seedcare Institute is filling a growing need for innovative seed treatment research, advanced customer training, and personalized application support. Built in Stanton, Minnesota, the facility is successfully developing customized seed treatment recipes, and then testing and scaling up the recipes from the Syngenta lab to commercial-size seed treating plants.
“Through large-scale testing, we’ve validated customized recipes and transferred them to our customers’ seed production sites across different treating technologies,” said Ravi Ramachandran, Ph.D., head of the North America Seedcare Institute for Syngenta. “Optimizing the treating process helps our customers increase their operational efficiency and deliver high-quality seeds with uniform coating and active ingredient distribution.”
The $20 million facility is one of 13 sites that comprise the global network of Syngenta Seedcare Institutes. Global standards ensure that specific procedures are used in the design and documentation of a recipe and a set of quality parameters are fulfilled to meet customer, grower, and regulatory needs in each country worldwide.
A quality assurance program that involves laboratory analysis of treated seeds for loading levels of key active ingredients helps customers produce high-quality treated seeds. The site also features climate-controlled application and planter testing labs where Syngenta simulates different environmental conditions.
“The ability to simulate various climate conditions — from California and the Dakotas to the Carolinas — better enables our researchers to understand region-specific differences in applications and use, and allows them to develop optimal formulations,” said Ramachandran. “This has been particularly valuable for customers with multiple seed treating plants located across the country, because it helps maximize yield for every seed planted.”
Basic and advanced levels of education and training at the Seedcare Institute include recipe customization, hands-on application techniques, equipment automation, and more. In the past year, 2,600 customers were trained at the site and another 675 retail applicators were trained offsite through more than a dozen Seedcare Academy sessions held across the U.S.
Syngenta invests more than $1.3 billion in R&D globally or $3.5 million every day. For nearly four decades, Syngenta has been a leader in seed treatment technology. This heritage dates back to 1979 with the introduction of Concep seed safener, the first product of its kind for sorghum.