Pioneer Hi-bred Committed to the Carolinas with Kinston Research Facility

Just over a year ago, Pioneer Hi-bred renewed their commitment to southeastern crops by re-establishing a research facility in Kinston, North Carolina. That facility has seen two crop seasons, and is moving forward in working on crops for the mid-Atlantic region, and beyond. Pioneer Hi-bred’s Director of the Southern Business Unit, Greg Wichmann:

“We used to be located in this area up until about 2000, and there is a very valuable aspect to being able to breed crops in this area that are really important for folks that farm on the eastern coast. One is drought and stress tolerance. Another is with all the humidity we have and the capacity for storms, grain molds and funguses are a big problem for growers in this area. When we left this area we really lost some of that effort and trying to pick up some of this in the research centers west and north of here, you really just can’t be effective. We felt there was enough of a need from our customers to be back in this geography to make sure we are doing a good job of developing products that are adapted to this region.”

And in their return to North Carolina, they’ve expanded their efforts according to Wichmann:

“We are coming back with a much bigger effort than what we had before. So not only are we doing corn testing here, but we have also brought in a soybean research program. Across our entire organization we really are focusing on the maturity brackets for soybeans that can really be done in other parts of the US, but this is the only program that is geared to full season: group 6, group 7. It’s the first of its kind for us and was really started from scratch. It’s an effort that we feel really good about being able to help southern farmers.”

Wichmann explains that while research on shorter season soybeans is taking place in other Pioneer facilities around the country, the Kinston facility is dedicated to full-season soybeans:

“We are really rounding out our program. Group 4’s and 5’s are also very important varieties for growers in this area. The component that we feel we missed is this full season effort. We are taking what is already a pretty strong group 4/group 5 program that is in existence and now adding on to it with 6’s and 7’s. Now we will have a complete broad portfolio for growers in this area.”

With grain sorghum gaining speed in the Carolinas, Wichmann explains that they’ve added sorghum research to their portfolio in Kinston:

“We are excited about this opportunity. Pioneer has been very blessed with some great genetics when it comes to grain sorghum. All of our effort has been out west, but because of the interest in that product line, we have started to bring some of our testing over here. We are starting to evaluate a lot of our hybrids and make sure they are adapted for this area. That effort kicked off in earnest this growing season.”

With many growers experimenting with sorghum for the first time, Wichmann says that Pioneer’s agronomists are available to assist growers:

“It’s a crop that has been around a long time and most of the growers have probably played with it in the past. But when you haven’t used something for a while there can be some anxiety. Our agronomists and our field people are ready to help out in any way that we can.”

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Greg Wichmann, Southern Business Unit Manager for Pioneer Hi-bred is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.