On Monday, Monsanto Brazil opened a new research facility in Petrolina (State of Pernambuco), aimed at accelerating development of technologies for corn, soybeans, cotton, sorghum and sugarcane in the country.
The research station occupies 4337.5 square meters of constructed area. Initially, the center is focusing on incorporating biotechnology and breeding to crops such as corn, and conducting research for evaluation and development of new hybrids and manufacture of seeds. In the future, other crops of Monsanto’s portfolio in Brazil, such as soybeans, sorghum, cotton, sugarcane and vegetables, can be worked at the site with programs similar to corn.
Petrolina has both the infrastructure required to support the new unit in Petrolina and a climate suitable for year-round cultivation. The availability of a skilled local labor force to work in agriculture is also important for the research center’s success. Today, the unit has 45 professionals, including agronomists, biologists, administrators and agricultural technicians, and a team of contractors and temporary workers who, during the crop season, increase the work force to more than 150 people.
The new center combines cutting edge technologies with sustainable practices for operations. For example, the buildings are designed to take full advantage of natural light, and solar lampposts are used for exterior lighting. Building roofs were made with tiles that prevent overheating and reduce the use of air conditioning. The site also has facilities for anaerobic wastewater treatment and water reuse in irrigation of the gardens of both farms that comprise the operation.
Irrigation, fertirrigation and drainage systems are state-of-the-art and automated. Field devices are also cutting edge, and include fully computerized sprays, with minimal exposure of employees to chemicals. Tractors and planters feature GPS systems for better performance.
The site laboratory includes devices required for seeds processing, phytopathology work and preparation of samples for DNA analysis. Information Technology programs connects the site to other Monsanto facilities worldwide.
In the past 10 years, Monsanto Brazil invested more than US$ 1 billion in the country, including this new center in Petrolina. Investments have been made in operations such as seeds, biotechnology, and genetic and conventional breeding.