Growers across the Southeast region will reap the benefits of Bayer's $4.4 million, 150-acre cotton breeding facility in Dawson, Ga., according to an announcement.
Although the facility began operating in January 2016, the grand opening was celebrated Oct. 20 during the harvest of the first research crop.
The Southeast Cotton Breeding Station is part of Bayer's commitment to invest nearly $1 billion in the U.S. between 2013 and 2016 in new facilities and capital expansion to complement the approximately $1 billion invested globally in research and development (R&D) annually. The breeding and research focus at Dawson is on varieties and traits that clear agronomic hurdles and enhance both efficiency and profitability for growers who are working to provide food, feed, fiber and renewable raw materials globally.
"For us, it is important to continue expanding our Seeds business through R&D, and this facility will bring together significant scientific and technology resources to support the advancement of the agricultural industry, specifically for cotton seed trait and plant research," said Mike Gilbert, vice president and head of global breeding and trait development for Bayer.
Monty Christian, Bayer vice president for U.S. cotton operations, added that "this inauguration represents a significant investment for Georgia and a clear commitment to Bayer's investment in advancing technology across cotton. We will continue here with Bayer's proven record of delivering cotton varieties with high yield potential and high-quality fiber packages, specifically through our flagship brands, Stoneville and FiberMax."
For the Stoneville brand, the breeding station will continue to build on a lineup focused on providing varieties adapted to the Southeast with excellent early-season vigor and performance under the unrelenting regional pest pressures.
Southeast industry leaders and university researchers toured Bayer's facility, where harvest has started for the first crop of breeding and research plots. The facility adds to the economic weight brought by agriculture, and cotton specifically, in Georgia and the Southeast.
The Cotton Breeding Station will employ 10-15 people who will work with a larger global team to promote advanced research on genetics, chemistry and traits to provide holistic agricultural solutions to customers around the world. In addition to the full-time employees, many area residents will be hired each year to assist with planting and harvesting activities.
Bayer, the third-largest agricultural input company in the world, is committed to bringing new technology and solutions for agriculture and non-agricultural uses.