Bayer CropScience Opens Breeding and Trait Development Station

Surrounded by Bayer Pikeville employees, Dr. Richard Reich (Fifth from the left) Assistant Commissioner, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Services; Brent Styles, Pikeville site manager; Frank Terhorst, global head of seeds for Bayer CropScience, and Mike Gilbert, head of global breeding and trait development for Bayer CropScience cut the ribbon on Bayer CropScience’s newest trait development and breeding station. Photo courtesy Bayer CropScience

Surrounded by Bayer Pikeville employees, Dr. Richard Reich (Fifth from the left) Assistant Commissioner, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Services; Brent Styles, Pikeville site manager; Frank Terhorst, global head of seeds for Bayer CropScience, and Mike Gilbert, head of global breeding and trait development for Bayer CropScience cut the ribbon on its newest trait development and breeding station. Photo courtesy Bayer CropScience

Bayer CropScience launched its Breeding and Trait Development Station in Pikeville, North Carolina, a $6.3 million state-of-the-art facility as part of its commitment to extend its investment in research and development, in addition to efforts to expand production capacities and seed processing facilities.

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The facility will identify, test and develop new cotton and soybean varieties for the mid-Atlantic and Southern United States agriculture markets through modern breeding methods.

The Breeding and Trait Development Station is the first of several Bayer CropScience breeding stations throughout North and South America and the first to combine work on two crops. Bayer said the facility will support the development and testing of its FiberMax and Stoneville cotton varieties and Credenz soybeans for the mid-Atlantic region, utilizing high-performing, smart technology genetics in a wide range of varieties, in order to offer growers a new, more advanced choice to maximize yields and quality. These efforts will also evaluate the quality and yield of cotton and soybeans. “Yield improvement for cotton will be the primary focus at the Breeding and Development Station at Pikeville, while Bayer CropScience strives to deliver the improved fiber quality increasingly demanded by cotton merchants globally,” the company said.

The facility, with eight full-time and five to 10 contractors and seasonal staff, consists of four new buildings on a renovated former Bayer Healthcare site, including a 4,227-square-foot office building, a 13,057-square-foot processing building, a 13,904-square-foot equipment barn and an outdoor pavilion. Previous site buildings were removed to accommodate new construction, and 86 percent of all materials from the demolition were recycled. To add to site sustainability efforts, all lighting is strictly automated LED lights, with seed dryers that run on solar energy.

“Our Breeding and Trait Development Station at Pikeville will have a significant impact on the way cotton and soybeans are grown and developed throughout this area of the country,” said Brent Styles, site and testing manager for the Breeding and Trait Development Station at Pikeville. “We place a high emphasis on quality management and seed stewardship, in order to ensure our cotton and soybean-related products are the most beneficial to growers.”